JEM alum fulfills dream with unveiling of Condrege Holloway-inspired Smokey Grey football uniforms
JEM alum Evan Ford (’17) poses with the new “Artful Dodger” Smokey Grey uniform he designed for the 2023 home opener against Austin Peay.
Evan Ford (’17) used to sketch, doodle, and dream about designing a University of Tennessee, Knoxville football uniform as a high school student.
Now, his dreams have become reality.
The School of Journalism and Media alumnus and Vols fan will see players wear the new “Artful Dodger” Smokey Grey uniforms he designed for the 2023 home opener on Saturday vs. Austin Peay.
Ford said UT Athletics, in partnership with Nike, announced last year players would wear a new Smokey grey uniform design beginning with the 2023 season through at least 2025.
In his current role as associate director of digital design and branding for University of Tennessee Athletics, Ford designs various media for Tennessee sports teams but this is the first uniform he’s created.
“The uniforms were the first thing I fell in love with as a fan,” Ford said. “We have only worn so many different uniform designs, probably less than 20 over a 100-plus year history, so to get a small slice of that, that’s pretty neat for me.”
Ford said the Smokey grey uniform design pays homage to Condredge Holloway, nicknamed “The Artful Dodger,” who made history by becoming the first Black player to start as quarterback for an SEC program. At the 2023 home opener, players will be wearing the new uniform. The opening home game coincides with the 51st anniversary of Holloway’s start as a Vol, making the uniforms a timely homage to the quarterback.
From 1971 to 1974, when Holloway was with the team, players wore white road uniforms with prominent orange shoulders. Ford said he incorporated that same design feature into these new uniforms. Other uniform elements include a painted Smoky Mountains motif on the helmet, a vintage-inspired grey face mask, a thin orange helmet strip, and classic double stripes on the pants.
“I knew I wanted to do something that honored our traditions and history, so doing the uniform to honor Condredge Holloway was a really cool opportunity,” Ford said.
Ford said, while the uniform will only be worn by players for Saturday’s game, fans can also expect to find these jerseys and other Smokey grey uniform designs in stores.