By Rick Palsgrove
The traditional “G” logo, familiar to many Cruiser alumni, could return to the Groveport Madison High School football team’s helmets this fall.
The “G” (which is similar in design to the University of Georgia Bulldog “G” logo) was removed from the helmets several years ago by a decision by a former school board president, according to Groveport Madison Superintendent Bruce Hoover.
However, at its July 11 meeting, the Groveport Madison Board of Education debated, and then approved, returning control for decisions regarding the football helmet logo design to the district’s athletic director and superintendent.
“It’s my understanding the coaches and players want to go back to an ‘old school’ design,” said board member Bryan Shoemaker. “I’ve spoken to alumni, the coaches and players who really want the ‘G’ back.”
“The main reason I want the ‘G’ back on the helmet is because of the tradition it has,” said Groveport Madison varsity head football coach Bryan Schoonover in an interview. “We want our players to embrace our tradition. We want our team to be one group with one goal, and that’s to make this community proud. To us it doesn’t matter on what side of the district these players grow up on. What matters is that they come together as one, and the ‘G’ is a representation of these kids coming together, and I believe they are.”
Board member Nancy Gillespie expressed concern that changing the logo on the helmets could incur unnecessary costs for the district.
“Why not leave the helmet plain?” asked Gillespie. “I don’t want to spend money for one sport when we have other sports that are going unfunded.”
But Shoemaker replied the helmets must be reconditioned every year anyway for safety purposes. He said the athletic boosters, not the district, would pay the cost of buying and applying the new logo decal to the helmets.
Board President Mary Tedrow questioned returning to the “G” helmet logo because – since the district includes Groveport, Madison Township and parts of Columbus, Reynoldsburg, Obetz and Canal Winchester – people not living in Groveport might not identify with the “G.”
Speaking at the board meeting, resident Jason Parsons said he sees the “G” as a unifying factor because many people (but certainly not all) who live in the district, when asked where they are from, often say, “Groveport,” no matter that their home may technically be in one of these other communities.
Groveport Madison Athletic Director Steve Petros said it is his intention to bring back the “G” logo.
“I am thrilled to bring back another piece of Groveport Madison history,” said Petros in an interview. “Along with the athletic hall of fame and other projects, our athletic department wants to do anything we can to tie together our alumni and our current student athletes. I have been asked about the ‘G’ from more people than I can count. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
Schoonover said the team will begin using the helmets with the “G” logo at the team’s first home game of the season on Sept. 6 against Walnut Ridge.
Cruiser helmet history
Football helmets are one of the most recognizable features of an athletic uniform. Here’s a look back at the Groveport Madison Cruiser football helmet designs over the past 100 years.
•Early 1900s to the mid-1940s: The team wore leather helmets dyed red. These helmets had no stripes or logos.
•Mid-1940s to 1952: The team still sported the red leather helmets, but this version of the helmet featured a distinctive white stripe.
•From 1953 to 1962 the team modernized with the hard shell helmets that are familiar today. The helmets were black with a narrow white stripe down the middle. Some years the players’ numbers appeared on the side of the helmet in white.
•From 1963 to 1968 the helmets were black with broad white/red/white stripes down the middle. There was no logo on the side of the helmet.
•From 1969 to around 1999 or 2000, the helmets were red with black/white/black stripes down the middle, and the Groveport “G” logo on the side. The “G” is similar to the University of Georgia Bulldog style “G.”
•The “G” design was replaced by a red helmet with GM logo on the side. In the 2000s the design included a black helmet with a red “C” logo with the word “Cruisers” and also a red helmet with an image of the horse Cruiser and word “Cruisers.”
(Sources: Groveport Madison High School Athletic Department, The Madisonian yearbooks, and Groveport Heritage Museum.)