WATERTOWN — The Jefferson Community College athletic programs are looking to start the new decade with a new look.
The college is conducting focus groups to gather student and community feedback on what the athletic teams’ appearance should be going forward, including a new logo and a mascot. Athletic director Jeff Wiley said he is hoping to get a wide range of opinions
“We want the community to be involved,” Wiley said. “We’ve got different focus groups and one of those is specifically for the community.”
The chance for a new logo has pumped up the entire student community, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Corey Campbell. He said a couple of the focus groups featured plenty of participation.
“I went to one of the meetings in the morning and it was standing-room only,” Campbell said. “There’s very much excitement about this.”
Jefferson CC is one of three New York-based schools that have the Cannoneers nickname. Watervilet High School and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn also are the Cannoneers. The nickname plays off the War of 1812, which included battles in Sackets Harbor and Ogdensburg.
“The War of 1812 is a critical part of our history and the Cannoneer name honors that,” Wiley said.
JCC’s rebranding bid is also hoping to appeal to Fort Drum as many soldiers and their families take classes at JCC while being stationed in the area.
“We have a great military heritage in the tri-county area, so I think it would be great to tie in with that,” men’s lacrosse goalie Dale Moore said.
The Cannoneers have never claimed an official school logo. Most athletic teams have made their own logos for their respective sports. Jefferson has settled on a traditional “J” logo that is maroon. There’s also a logo showing a cannon with cartoon-like features.
“I think most students have pride in the Jefferson Cannoneer name, they’re just not a big fan of the cannon elephant logo that gets posted on a lot of our sports,” volleyball player Savanna Baker said.
Students and athletes would like to see a newly minted logo. Baker and Moore had their own thoughts on what they’d like.
“As long as we don’t have a cannonball with legs, I’m good with whatever they come up with,” Baker said.
“I think the current logo is too friendly,” Moore said. “I think if we’re going ahead with this rebrand, we need something a little more aggressive to show our opponents that we mean business.”
Wiley is hoping to rebrand leads to an actual mascot in which a person wears a costume and shows up at games. There’s also hope that a mascot would be out in the community at other events.
“We’d love to get a mascot on the sideline hyping up our events,” Wiley said.
The rebrand is being assisted by Rickabaugh Graphics based out of Gahanna, Ohio. Rickabaugh is a partner of the NJCAA and has done work for Ohio State, the University of Iowa, Indiana University and other colleges.
Campbell said that there will be small teases of what the new logo will look like in April and May. A final unveiling should be ready by the fall 2020 semester.
The college is also hoping to get its field turf installed soon to coincide with the rebrand.