A new bronze Jayhawk statue found its perch Thursday just outside the Anderson Family Football Complex facing the south side of Memorial Stadium.
Athletics officials hope the Jayhawk will create new traditions — football players will rub it for luck before each home football game, similar to other statues in places like the University of Maryland.
The statue stands about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide, said D.W. Acker, a graphic designer for Kansas Athletics, who helped design the statue in two dimensions before collaborating with bronze sculptor John Free, of Pawhuska, Okla., on the final product.
“We wanted it to look exactly like the Sandy Jayhawk,” said Chris Howard, a KU associate athletics director, referring to Hal Sandy’s famous Jayhawk logo design.
That was not as easy as it might seem, Acker said, standing nearby as crews installed the statue, which cost $48,000 to construct, paid for by Kansas Athletics Inc.
“That was a real challenge, to take a flat image and make a 3-D image out of it,” he said.
Free said he made several trips to Lawrence from Oklahoma to consult with athletics officials. Free, an Oklahoma State alumnus, wasn’t intimately familiar with the Jayhawk logo, so he worked closely with Acker to modify the design throughout the process.
Even though the logo is flipped occasionally, there’s a back side of the Jayhawk that’s never visible, Acker said. A wing, for example, is always covering part of the boot that’s on the ground, he said. Acker said he enjoyed getting to use his imagination to envision what that might look like. Every feather, he said, has a reason for being placed where it is.
“Everybody in the world has seen the Jayhawk from this angle,” he said, looking at the statue in profile. “You’ve never seen the other side of that Jayhawk.”
Acker said he hoped that fans, players and all manner of Jayhawks would be able to enjoy the statue, which is situated so it’s easy to grab a photo with the Campanile or Fraser Hall in the background.
“I’m always glad to be a part of something that people are going to see and enjoy,” Free said.