Helmet sticker

Helmet stickers, also known as reward decals and pride stickers, are stickers that are affixed to a high school or college football player's helmet. They can denote either individual or team accomplishments.

Helmet with paw print stickers (O'Fallon Panthers, Illinois High School Association, 2008)


ESPN says the practice of awarding helmet stickers is often wrongly credited to Ernie Biggs, also an athletic trainer at Ohio State under legendary coach Woody Hayes.[1] They instead claim that the practice of awarding stickers began with Jim Young, former assistant coach at Miami in 1965, two years before they were used by the Buckeyes.[1]

An even earlier attribution is given to Gene Stauber, freshman coach at Nebraska (1955–1957) by head coach Pete Elliott.[2] Stauber routinely used stickers throughout his tenure as assistant coach at Illinois (1960–1970), as a 1962 photo of All-American linebacker Dick Butkus indicates.[3] The stickers stem from fighter pilots marking their planes with stickers or painted roundels after kills and/or successful missions.[4]

Michael Pellowski, in his book Rutgers Football: A Gridiron Tradition in Scarlet, credits Rutgers defensive backs coach Dewey King with being “one of the first” to award decals for helmets in 1961. The stickers were given for interceptions only, so they were more difficult to earn. Every time there was an interception, the crowd yelled “give him the star.” The stars can be seen in a photo of the 1961 team walking from the locker room to the field prior to the season finale against Columbia.[5]

Current usageEdit

Shaun Wade of Ohio State carrying a helmet nearly covered with stickers
Rashad Greene of Florida State wearing a helmet with numerous stickers

Division IEdit


  • Clemson: paw print /3.0/4.0
  • Duke: grim reaper
  • FIU: gold panther paw
  • Florida State: tomahawk(Only awarded after team wins)
  • Louisiana Lafayette: pepper
  • Michigan: Wolverine with players' personal achievements and area codes
  • North Carolina: Tar Heel
  • Northern Illinois: Bone/ Huskie logo
  • Ohio State: buckeye tree leaf
  • Pittsburgh: panther head
  • San Jose State: "100/100", "Prove It"
  • Stanford: axe blade
  • Virginia


  • Alabama A&M
  • Butler: dog bone
  • Florida A&M: snake heads
  • Fordham University: ram head
  • Illinois State: Reggie Redbird
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina A&T
  • Weber State
  • Youngstown State: white star

Discontinued usageEdit

  • Appalachian State: Yosef
  • Arizona: Wildcat Paw
  • Arkansas: Hog head
  • Arkansas State: "I Will"
  • Baylor: Bear head
  • Bowling Green: "BG" logo
  • BYU: Gold Cougar (Personal Goals) and Blue Cougar (Team Goals, Wins)/"HC"(used only on throwback helmets)
  • California: Football (football with big C and "WIN" on it, Growling Bear head ('70s))
  • Central Michigan: Yellow Block C
  • Colorado: Buffalo
  • East Carolina: Skull Pirate Logo
  • Florida Atlantic
  • Fresno State: White Bone, Yellow Bone, and Black Bone
  • Georgia: White Bone/Black Bone (Academic) (Used during the Mark Richt Era (2001-2015), White Stars during the Vince Dooley Years
  • Georgia State: Panther, a block "M" (standing for magnanimatas, or "greatness of spirit" in Latin), and a gold star for academics
  • University of Hawaii: Warrior helmet and cross spears [6]
  • Houston: White Paw
  • Indiana
  • Iowa State: Cyclone
  • Kentucky: White Wildcat Paw/Blue Wildcat Paw (only on white helmets)
  • Louisville: Cardinal
  • Louisiana Monroe: Maroon Star/Warhawk Talon
  • Marshall: Green Horn
  • Maryland: Red Turtle and Yellow Turtle
  • Memphis: Tiger Paw
  • Miami: Green hurricane/Orange hurricane
  • Miami(Ohio): Star/Tomahawk
  • Middle Tennessee State: Pegasus
  • Michigan State: White "S"/ Javelin
  • Missouri: Tiger Paw
  • Mississippi State: Bulldog
  • North Carolina State: Wolf Fang
  • New Mexico: Lobo
  • New Mexico State: Aggie "A"
  • Nevada: Axe
  • Northwestern: Wildcat logo
  • Purdue: Train
  • Rice: Owl
  • Rutgers: Silver Star/Sword
  • SMU: Pony logo
  • Southern Miss: Eagle
  • South Carolina: Gamecock foot with spur
  • South Florida: Green Bull Logo
  • Temple: Diamond
  • Tennessee
  • Texas Tech: Red Star [7]
  • Toledo: White Rocket/Yellow Rocket
  • Tulane: Fleur-de-lis
  • Tulsa: Skull and Crossbones
  • UConn: Huskie/"C" logo
  • UCLA: Blue Bear Paw
  • Utah: Utes logo
  • Utah State: Block letter 'A'/Bull
  • Vanderbilt: Ship Anchor (only on gold helmets)
  • Western Kentucky: "WKU" Red Towel logo
  • Western Michigan: Crossed Oars (used only during the 2013–16 tenure of P. J. Fleck as head coach)
  • West Virginia: Musket
  • Wyoming: Small Bucking Horse


  1. ^ a b "Helmet Stickers". ESPN.com. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Pete Elliott Interview".
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-01-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Rabjohns, Jeff (2006-10-26). "Helmet stickers reward college football players' superior performance". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  5. ^ Sargeant, Keith (2014-11-14). "Rutgers football 1961: 'The greatest team, the greatest season, and the greatest coach that any college ever had'". NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  6. ^ "prideofhawaiisports.com".
  7. ^ "Southwest Conference Helmet History".