UConn's new helmet prominently features the Husky.
"The process started about 14 months ago with the collaboration with Nike and their graphic identity group that takes a look at all of the ways that you present yourselves in marketplace and on the apparel and on the gear that we wear, our student-athletes wear to represent ourselves," Manuel told ESPN.com on Thursday. "The biggest thing coming out of it is that in the marketplace we were known as 'UConn.' When you put the 'U' and the 'C' together or the 'C' by itself or other representation of the logo that we had, people didn't always easily identify that as UConn. But when you put 'UConn' out there, that was the most identifiable.
"So the process really started to try to get to one look as opposed to multiple options of how we were presented, our apparel was presented and our student-athletes were presented in the marketplace. It took about 14 months and it really took probably 6-7 months on the actual process of getting to the design that we put out. And then it was, once we made the decision to move forward, taking everybody, all of our key people through the process of ordering and showing, and once we got the final approvals then it was basically going through the process of starting the development of the apparel for our teams and any apparel that'll be licensed out in the marketplace."
One does not need to look far on the Internet to find immediate negative reaction or mocking of the new logo and uniforms, as is often the case with change among college athletic programs.
The new look coincides with the debut of the American Athletic Conference, a convenience for a athletic program that, despite being on the outside looking in as several peers have jumped to the ACC, was going to have to do a bit of redecorating around its Storrs athletic facilities regardless.
"As we all transitioned and transitioned new conferences, new banners with the new conference, new teams in the conference, we were already going to be part of this transition," Manuel said. "I think it actually worked out to be pretty good timing for all of us. While we didn't anticipate all this change along with the change of a new logo and wordmark, it works out that we were going to have to make the changes internally and to what we put in our facilities anyway, the different ways we presented ourselves. We're going to have to change in the different names of the conference and all those things, different banners. So it works in effect that it should only be one change."