Arizona's new copper helet

The Arizona Wildcats unveiled a new copper helmet Wednesday. The look will be "an option going forward" and not part of their regular uniform, athletic director Greg Byrne said. 

Photo courtesy of the University of Arizona.

The Arizona Wildcats will take the field this fall with a new look that harkens to the state’s mining past.

The Wildcats will wear copper helmets as part of an alternate uniform, athletic director Greg Byrne told the Star tonight.

Byrne wouldn’t say when the UA will debut the new look, only that copper is “an option going forward.” Nike will likely produce a special uniform to wear with the new helmet.

The Wildcats will primarily stick to their cardinal-and-navy color scheme, Byrne said.

“(Copper) is something that’s strongly tied to our university and our state, and certainly fits within the historical context,” he said.

The UA did not consider any darker tones.

“Anybody can do black,” Byrne said.

The helmets, which took six months to develop, mark the most significant change to Arizona’s look since 1981, when the team unveiled its now-familiar white helmets with an “block A” logo.

Coaches frequently change their team’s look when they take over programs: Mike Stoops, Rodriguez’s predecessor, ushered in navy helmets when he took over in 2004. The team wore the color exclusively until the 2009 Holiday Bowl, when it dusted off a retro-inspired white dome. Since then, the UA has alternated between blue and white helmets.

Arizona now has one fewer helmet design than rival Arizona State, which wears white, maroon, yellow and black lids.

Check out Arizona's full helmet history here

The sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star.