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August 15th, 2011 by Terry Miller
A new era has begun for the athletics program at La Salle High School. La Salle announced in July the appointment of Mr. Anthony Harris as its new athletic director. The former athletic director at North Hollywood Campbell Hall, Harris led the Vikings to seven CIF Southern Section championships in four sports, captured 50 league titles, and sent over 40 athletes to play college sports. And now Harris has a new plan and new look for La Salle. “I’m excited the school understands that athletics is a great marketing tool; it serves as a constant community presence. There’s a lot of competition out there. My goal is to make La Salle a household name in the San Gabriel Valley, and in Southern California and our new Lancer logo will help,” he said.
One of Harris’ first moves is the introduction of a comprehensive and robust athletic identity system. “I noticed when I got here we were an athletics program that visually lacked punch and consistency,” he concluded. “Think of the iconic athletics programs on the next level – Notre Dame and Michigan with the gold and winged helmets, Texas and the Longhorns, USC and the Trojans, and UCLA’s blue and gold.
My point is, how we perform on and off the field will be most important. But, it’s also important how we present ourselves. Our athletic identity is a source of pride that connects the entire La Salle community, from the first alumni in 1960 to the next generation, and the generation after that. We want to create a college prep athletic environment that matches our college prep academic environment.”
Prior to Harris taking the lead, multiple colors, fonts and styles were used to brand La Salle and its student-athletes, most notably on team uniforms. But Harris was pleased to find out that a group within the La Salle community was already researching and working on the same vision, and had been doing so for roughly two years – John Blackstock ’67 Director of Communications at La Salle, Tommy Stafford ’99 a graphic designer, alumnus, and current Director of Communications at Orange Lutheran High School, and Kristen Schultz ’98, Director of Alumni Relations at La Salle. Blackstock created the original Napoleonic Lancer in 1969, “I did a rough sketch and silhouette of an 18th century Lancer based on the Prussian and Polish armies. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from our archrival at the time – St. Francis – because we were using very similar mascots. Our Lancer looked a lot like their Knight! Years later, the Christian Brothers at La Salle began using my Lancer sketch as basic artwork for Lancer icons on campus, in the yearbook and on School apparel. That’s simply how La Salle’s Napoleonic Lancer was born,” Blackstock said.
With input from many stakeholders, the consensus was that the new Lancer should be more intimidating, bold and aggressive, and remain adaptable to different types of mediums (jerseys, hats, apparel, digital media, etc.).
Blackstock showed Stafford some ideas based on the Service Academy mascots for style and Stafford took it from there. Stafford created the new Lancer, a new “LS” and athletics typeface to be used by all La Salle teams. The new Lancer mascot logo, athletics “LS” that will now be on the football helmets and baseball caps along with the team designation type face in La Salle colors will help to create the collegiate like athletics atmosphere and brand for La Salle.
To help introduce the new mascot logo and create an easier way to explore Lancer Athletics, La Salle created a new La Salle Athletics website www.lasallelancers.org. This new site is part of the ongoing revisions to the La Salle school site. It’s a great new place to check out all the Lancer teams and of course, see the new full-color mascot and typeface.
Throughout the project, equal attention was devoted to maintaining an appreciation for the traditions of the past, while also positioning La Salle’s athletics program for the future. The original Napoleonic Lancer remains as a mark that can be used with student Life, academics and the arts. It remains the mark for most alumni apparel items.
Dr. Richard Gray, President of La Salle, is proud of the improvements and how they reflect the school’s passionate community from current students and staff, to alumni, parents and fans. “Our updated athletic marks are designed with more angular and aggressive elements, depicting speed and a competitive edge. The new Lancer and word marks are clearly representative of La Salle’s continued quest for excellence,” he said.