By Cora Zaletel, CSU-Pueblo Executive Director of External
PUEBLO, CO -- Eric Canuel’s family already is getting a kick out of saying he’s receiving a football scholarship.
The 130-pound, non-traditional student at Colorado State University-Pueblo was selected from among 89 entries as the winner of the football uniform design contest in celebration of the return of football in Fall of 2008. The junior art education major from Colorado Springs already is using the $1,000 scholarship prize this Spring to pursue his dream of teaching art to elementary and middle school students. The uniform design was unveiled today (Feb. 7) as part of the Football Signing Day luncheon on the CSU-Pueblo campus. The uniforms will get their first use in just over 200 days when the T-Wolves kick off the football season versus Panhandle (OK) State on Sept. 6 in the new Neta and Eddie ThunderBowl Stadium
The winning design features a white helmet complete with ThunderWolf logo, white pants with blue and red stripes, and red and white jerseys (home and away) with two bolts across the shoulders. Head Coach John Wristen requested that the word Pueblo be predominant on the front of the jersey to bring recognition to the community.
Of the 89 entries, about two thirds came from Colorado, but 20 others came from alumni, artists, and design firms across the country, including Chicago, Ill., Atlanta, Ga., San Diego, Calif., Baltimore, Md., Las Vegas, Nev., Austin and Arlington, Tex., and Lincoln, Neb.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
An Arizona native, Canuel earned an associate’s degree in graphic design at Yavapai Community College in Prescott, Ariz., before spending eight years as a graphic designer for commercial printing firms in Phoenix and Colorado Springs. But he soon realized doing graphic design for money was not his passion. His wife, Elisabeth, a music teacher, kept hinting that sharing his creativity and love of art with students might be the next career step.
“Creativity kept me happy and stable growing up, and I want to give to kids what I had growing up,” Canuel said.
What he had were parents who encouraged his creativity by bringing home crayons and paper and ignoring the bags and bags of designs that cluttered his bedroom.
“My mom is the number one fan of my art, and I still show my designs to her because of her objectivity,” Canuel said.
An admitted small town person, Canuel said going to New York City to pursue an art career just wasn’t in the cards. So, he returned to CSU-Pueblo to pursue a bachelor’s degree in art and a minor in education. He has found his niche, enjoying every minute of student teaching third graders at Morton Elementary this semester and guiding 7-10 year olds last summer at a camp which encouraged creativity on technological projects like designing video games and robots.
After hearing about the design contest from students in his printmaking class, Canuel first researched the look of other collegiate uniforms. He wasn’t aware that football used to be offered at the University or that this was the return of a sport that had a long history. He approached the contest solely as a design challenge, not as some storyline that needed an appropriate ending.
“ It seemed obvious to me that you couldn’t have a uniform for the ThunderWolves without lightning bolts. Didn’t I hear that Colorado has more lightning strikes to individuals than any other state? I went for a design that was clean, strong, not frilly,” he said.
As a fan and former player of the other sport known as football (soccer), he said he might not even have noticed the return of football if he hadn’t entered the contest.
“I’m obviously now more invested than I would have been as just a student. I’m clearly not a football fan, but it’s a unique happening and an honor for me to leave my mark on a football program,” he said.
Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.