It’s the most wonderful time of the year for college football fans — bowl season is upon us, and the games make for a perfect excuse to take a break from Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. The sport made headlines in November when it announced the College Football Playoffs would expand from four to 12 teams in 2024.
However, the best news you didn’t hear came in late November when former University of Oregon football captain and wide receiver Garren Strong’s immersive lifestyle lookback at the Ducks’ history of innovation became available for pre-order on Nov. 28.
The book, Innovation University, is 460 pages and takes fans through the emergence of Oregon Ducks football and the team’s impact on the sport that goes beyond the gridiron.
Strong, who went on to become a Nike and Jordan Brand executive, played for the Oregon Ducks from 2003-07 and got a first-hand look at the program. For the unfamiliar, Oregon became appointment viewing over the years — and not just because of its high-powered offense but its eye-popping uniforms. However, Strong says his experience with the team goes deeper than playbooks and lookbooks.
“To the casual observer, Oregon Football is a story about bright uniforms and big offense,” Strong said in a press release. “But this story is not about one coach, offensive scheme, or audacious uniform. It’s a perfect storm of unique influences that launched a previously unremarkable program into the national spotlight.”
For the first time, fans will get to peek behind the curtain and experience Ducks football like Strong did. The book includes interviews with Phil Knight, Tinker Hatfield, Coach Mike Bellotti, Coach Chip Kelly, Marcus Mariota, Jonathan Stewart, LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, TJ Ward, Yogi Roth, James Whitner, Gentry Humphrey, and PJ Tucker.
It promises to share how a once-overlooked program became a household name.
Like the program he played for, Strong is getting innovative with his book release. It comes with a curated playlist, available on Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and Spotify, featuring music that blasted in the Ducks’ locker room from the late-90s to 2016. Fans will also be able to experience digital storytelling and augmented reality, and maybe another surprise or three.
Artist and designer Keoni Black of The Hereaux Collective and Akt II Art Department created the design and graphics for the book. Another former Oregon Football alum Carlyle Garrick, who was part of the scout team in 2011, handled the creative direction and writing. Steven Christian of Iltopia studios gets credit for the augmented reality technology experience.
The book, self-published under Wet Egg Group Inc., is already available for pre-order at innovationubook.com. There are three versions. Elite and Elite Alternate versions promise to be the epitome of a limited edition — just 100 units of each book, individually numbered, will be available for $500. It comes with an NFT drop that will be minted and set to every owner. It will include exclusive access to product drops, events, content, and giveaways when it launches in the spring of 2023. The Standard’s price tag is $220.
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