LSU Tigers would wear white during their football games because of a tradition that has been started in 1958 by Coach Paul Dietzel.
Unlike college basketball, where the home teams wear white or the lighter-colored jerseys, most NCAA football teams wear their darker colored jerseys to home games. The LSU Tigers is noted for being one of the few to wear white jerseys. Let’s find out how did this tradition started.
Paul Dietzel’s Decision
In 1958, LSU’s coach, Paul Dietzel, decided that the team would be wearing their white jerseys for the home games. They then won the national championship that same year. Believing it was good luck, the team decided to make it a tradition to wear white to their home games.
However, in 1982, new NCAA rules were passed which stated that home teams must wear darker colors in home games, prohibiting LSU from wearing white from 1983 to 1994. It wasn’t until 1995, when LSU was granted permission by the NCAA to be able to continue with their tradition of wearing white.
Gerry DiNardo’s lobbying
In 1995, their new coach, Gerry DiNardo, determined to bring back the tradition of wearing white, took it upon himself to appeal to the NCAA. He personally met members of the Football Rules Committee. His effort has paid off and the LSU team began wearing white every time they have their homes games. This was since 1995. The only stipulation was that the visiting team must agree to wear their darker jersey colors during these games. Ever since, LSU only had to wear their purple jerseys to home games 3 times. (Once was during a game against Vanderbilt in 1996. Vanderbilt refused since they were still angry at DiNardo leaving Vanderbilt to coach LSU.)
In 2009, NCAA amended their rules once more, no longer restricting teams on whether they should wear their lighter-colored jerseys to home games or not. Just as long as teams wore contrasting colors.