They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014)

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): History of other Pac-12 nicknames

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General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
Rankings

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Excerpt from L.A. Times, Nov. 8, 1914, authored by Bill Henry:

“Arizona’s cactus-fed athletes, despite heroic efforts on the part of their two halfbacks, (Asa) Porter and (Franklin) Luis, went down to defeat before the Occidental Tigers yesterday afternoon, the tally with all precincts heard from being 14 to 0 in favor of the Tigers.
Confident of rolling up a big score, the Tigers took the field with grins on their faces, but before the game was 10 seconds old they knew they had a battle on their hands.
The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats and displayed before the public gaze a couple of little shrimps in the backfield who defied all attempts of the Tigers to stop them.”

This site will conduct a countdown in a 100-day period, leading up to Arizona’s 2014 football season-opener with UNLV on Aug. 29 at Arizona Stadium. The 100 Days ‘Til Kickoff countdown will include information daily about the historic 1914 Arizona team that helped create the school’s nickname of “Wildcats” because of how they played that fateful day against Occidental.

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How did other Pac-12 schools come up with their nicknames? Here’s a brief synopsis:

ASU.Sparky
Arizona State Sun Devils — The nickname “Sun Devils” was adopted in 1946. ASU officials can not narrow down who came up with the unique name. Earlier nicknames were the Normals, Owls and Bulldogs. The State Press, the student newspaper, ran frequent appeals during the fall of 1946, urging the Bulldog to be replaced by the new Sun Devil. On Nov. 8, 1946, the student body voted 819 to 196 to make the change. On Nov. 20, according to The Arizona Republic, the student council made it official. The following day, the first Arizona State team played as the Sun Devils.

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Cal.Bear
California Golden Bears — In 1895, Cal’s track & field team challenged several top teams in the Midwest and East on an eight-meet tour. As a symbol of the University, Regent Arthur Rodgers, class of 1872, commissioned a blue silk banner emblazoned with a golden grizzly bear, the symbol of the state of California. The banner was carried by the team on its successful tour, which saw Cal win five of the eight competitions. Cal fans were so ecstatic over the team’s performance that Charles Mills Gayley, a professor of English, was inspired to write the song “The Golden Bear.” Cal’s athletic teams have been known as the Golden Bears ever since. The team was also known as the Bruins until UCLA adopted that moniker in the 1920s.


Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
(AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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On This Date in 1914

Thur., June 18, 2014

Former President Theodore Roosevelt announces he will not take part in the political campaigns of 1914 because of symptoms related to a fever he suffered while doing an expedition in Brazil. Under doctors orders, Roosevelt was to rest his voice. The illness greatly affected his larynx. Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, was 55 at the time. “If any statements on the political subject purporting to come from me should be sent by wireless, you may put it down as fabrication. I will make none,” Roosevelt stated in an Associated Press article published by the Arizona Republican.

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Colorado Buffaloes — Prior to 1934, Colorado’s teams were called the Silver and Gold, among other things. Other names included Silver Helmets, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Arapahos, Big Horns, Grizzlies and Frontiersmen. The campus newspaper announced the contest in the fall of 1934, with a $5 prize to go to the author of the winning selection. Claude Bates of New Madrid, Mo., and James Proffitt of Cincinnati, Ohio, were co-winners for the prize as both submitted Buffaloes as their entry. Athletic Director Harry Carlson, graduate manager Walter Franklin and Kenneth Bundy of the Silver and Gold were the judges. Through the years, synonyms which quickly came into use included “Bison”, “Buffs”, “Thundering Herd”, “Stampeding Herd”, “Golden Avalanche”, and “Golden Buffaloes”.

Ore.Ducks
Oregon DucksL.H. Gregory, sports editor of The Oregonian, has been credited with coining “Webfoots” as the school’s athletic nickname. Headline writers searching for ways to use Webfoots into their sports pages began writing “Ducks”, which the students eventually voted as their new nickname over Timberwolves and Lumberjacks. In a second student-body election in 1932, “Ducks” beat the challenges of Trappers, Pioneers, Yellowjackets and Spearsmen, the latter in honor of football coach C.W. Spears, who left before the ’32 season for a similar post at Wisconsin.

OSU.Beaver
Oregon State Beavers — The nickname for Oregon State University is named after Oregon’s state animal. Before “Beavers” became the nickname, Oregon State’s athletic teams were known as the Aggies. When orange uniforms replaced sweatshirt-gray and tan jerseys, the teams were referred to as the Orangemen. In 1916, when the school yearbook was renamed “The Beaver”, the name Beaver became associated with the school. Gregory, of the Oregonian, refused to refer to Oregon State as the Beavers because he believed Portland’s minor-league baseball team should have rights to that nickname.

logo.Stanford2
Stanford Cardinal — The nickname for Stanford is in reference to one of the school colors (and is therefore in the singular). Stanford’s history with its nickname began on March 19, 1891, when Stanford beat Cal in the first Big Game. While Stanford did not have an official nickname, the day after the Big Game local newspapers picked up the “cardinal” theme and used it in the headlines. Stanford did not have an “official” nickname until Indians was adopted in 1930. The Indian was part of the Stanford athletic tradition. Stanford officially adopted the Indian nickname on Nov. 25, 1930 after a unanimous vote by the student body. The Indian symbol was dropped in 1972 following meetings between Stanford native American students (who felt insulted by the name) and President Richard Lyman. Stanford became known as the Cardinals (in reference to the school color, not the bird). Possible replacements Robber Barons, Sequoias, Trees, Railroaders, Spikes, and Huns were not accepted. In 1978, a campaign to change the nickname to “Griffins” (a mythological animal with the body and hind legs of a lion and head and wings of an eagle) failed. President Donald Kennedy declared in 1981 that all Stanford athletic teams will be represented and symbolized exclusively by the color cardinal.

UCLA.Bruins
UCLA Bruins — In 1919 UCLA was known as the “Southern Branch” of the University of California. The UCLA football team, playing its first season, was then known as the “Cubs” owing to their younger relationship to the California Bears in Berkeley. In 1923, under new coach Jimmie Cline, the football team adopted the name “Grizzlies” instead of Cubs. In 1928, the Grizzlies joined the Pacific Coast Conference. However, there was a problem with the nickname, since the University of Montana, also a member of the PCC at the time, had prior rights to the nickname “Grizzlies”. Evidently, that does not matter in the SEC these days with Auburn, Missouri and LSU sharing the “Tigers” nickname. UCLA, which had changed its name from the Southern Branch in 1927, became the “Bruins” in 1928 and has been recognized as such ever since.

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USC Trojans — Similar to Arizona, USC’s nickname was the work of a Los Angeles Times employee. The Times’ sports editor Owen Bird referred to USC as the “Trojans” in articles during the 1912 season. Up to that time, teams from USC were called the Methodists or Wesleyans and neither nickname was looked upon with favor by university officials. Athletic Director Warren Bovard, son of university president Dr. George Bovard, asked Bird to select an appropriate nickname. “At this time, the athletes and coaches of the university were under terrific handicaps,” Bird was quoted as saying at USCTrojans.com. “They were facing teams that were bigger and better-equipped, yet they had splendid fighting spirit. The name ‘Trojans’ fitted them. I came out with an article prior to a showdown between USC and Stanford in which I called attention to the fighting spirit of USC athletes and named them ‘Trojan’ all the time, and it stuck.”

utahlogo1
Utah Utes — Utah’s athletics teams are known as the “Utes” in honor of the American Indian tribe for which the state of Utah is named. The Utes have inhabited that area of the country for at least 1,000 years. Two of the more common definitions of Ute are “top of the mountains” and “people of the mountains.” Other references have Ute defined as “land of the sun.” The Utes refer to themselves as “Noochew,” meaning “the People.” There is no controversy with Native Americans using the “Utes” as a nickname. Originally referred to as the Redskins, the University of Utah officially adopted the nickname Utes for its athletic teams in 1972. The school uses the nickname with permission of the Ute Tribal Council.

Wash.Huskies
Washington Huskies — Can you imagine if the ASU Sun Devils faced the Washington Sun Dodgers? Sun Dodgers was Washington’s nickname starting in 1919. That nickname originated when a college magazine of the same name was banned from campus and, in protest, students adopted the name for their teams. Sun Dodgers (because of the rainy weather in the Pacific Northwest) did not carry a strong image. A student committee set out in 1921 to pick a new nickname. Athletic officials could not wait for the students and adopted Vikings during the semester break in December of 1921. When the students returned to campus, they immediately protested the name change. In an attempt to determine a nickname, the committee came down to two final choices — Malamutes and Huskies. The committee felt those were appropriate because of Seattle’s proximity to the Alaskan frontier. The Husky was voted as the winner. The University officially accepted the nickname Huskies for its athletic teams on Feb. 3, 1922. The nickname was selected by a joint comittee of students, coaches, faculty, alumni and businessmen. Other suggested nicknames were Wolves, Malamutes, Tyees, Vikings, Northmen and Olympics.

logo.Wazzu
Washington State Cougars — The first mascot was a terrier named “Squirt” after someone brought a pet dog to campus. The mascot became the Indians during the decade spanning 1910-1919. Three football coaches came from the famous Carlisle Indian College in Pennsylvania: Frank Shivley, William “Lone Star” Dietz and Gus Welch. Following the first football game between WSU and California in 1919, an Oakland cartoonist portrayed the Washington State team as fierce Northwest cougars chasing the defeated Golden Bears. A few days later, on Oct. 28, 1919, WSU students officially designated “Cougars” as their team mascot.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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