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Colleges and Universities With the Best School Mascots in the Country

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Top Choices

  • Arizona State University—Tempe (Tempe, AZ):
    Mascot: Sparky the Sun Devil
    DYK? ASU's mascot was originally an owl, then a bulldog, then the Sun Devil after students voted for it in 1946. The face for the new mascot was designed by Bert Anthony, an artist for Disney.
  • Auburn University (Auburn, AL):
    Mascot: Aubie the Tiger
    What students say: "I like him because he’s cute and funny!"
    DYK? According to the University, Aubie has won 10 mascot national championships—more than any other mascot in the US!
  • Brigham Young University—Idaho (Rexburg, ID):
    Mascot: Cosmo the Cougar
    What students say: "He does all those impressive flips during games"; "He represents BYU so well and looks great as he does lots of gymnastics."
    DYK? According to the University, Cosmo got his name because BYU is considered a "cosmopolitan" school, meaning "familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures."
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY):
    Mascot: Touchdown the Big Red Bear
    What students say: "He's the best because red is my favorite color and the bear reminds me of the bear toys I had growing up."
    DYK? Though the mascot is unofficial, a live black bear was first introduced during Cornell's undefeated national championship football season in 1915, with several other live bears making appearances on campus until the mid-1930s. Since the 1970s, undergrads have worn a fuzzy costume with a red jersey to various campus events and football games.
  • Iowa State University (Ames, IA):
    Mascot: Cy the Cardinal
    What students say: "He has the best energy."
    DYK? Iowa State's athletic teams are actually called the Cyclones, but since it was hard to depict that with a costume, a cardinal was chosen because it represents the school's colors (red and gold).
  • Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA):
    Mascot: Big Blue
    What students say: "The Monarch [is the best] because kings always win!"
    DYK? The Monarch team name represents the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as that of the University. Old Dominion became independent from the College of William & Mary in 1962 and introduced a mace and crown as the school's symbols. That's why Big Blue the Lion appropriately wears a crown on his head.
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA):
    Mascot: Cardinal; the Stanford Tree
    What students say: "Cardinal—nice color and spirit"; "Having a tree as a mascot is just hilarious."
    DYK? The Tree is a member of the Stanford Band and has become the unofficial mascot of the University; it represents the city of Palo Alto's Redwood tree logo. But the team name is Cardinal and refers to the color, not the bird.
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX):
    Mascot: Raider Red; the Masked Rider
    What students say: "The mascot has a very unique entrance at games and events."
    DYK? The University's primary mascot, the Masked Rider, made its first appearance in 1936. They are famous for leading the football team onto the field while riding a black horse and wearing a black cape and red shirt. A costumed mascot named Raider Red—a bandit with a big red mustache and oversized cowboy hat—was created in 1971 to represent the school at away games since live mascots were not permitted to travel.
  • The University of Tampa (Tampa, FL):
    Mascot: Spartacus the Spartan
    What students say: "This mascot is the best because they are super mighty and strong-willed. They never give up until their battle is done, and I relate to his motives!"; "I love the minimalism and strength."
    DYK? According to the University, the Spartan mascot goes back to the early 1930s, when the school competed against its biggest athletic rival, the St. Petersberg College Trojans.
  • Tulane University (New Orleans, LA):
    Mascot: Riptide the Pelican
    What students say: "He just looks fun and fierce!"
    DYK? Riptide has been the face of the Green Wave, Tulane's athletic teams, since 1998. Previous mascots (both official and unofficial) include Pete the Pelican, Greenie (a mischievous cartoon football player), the Angry Wave (used in the current logo), King Neptune, and Gumby (a costumed version of the Angry Wave).
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR):
    Mascot: Tusk the Razorback; Big Red the Fighting Razorback
    What students say: "My mascot was a Razorback for K–12, I was a Razorback cheerleader, and I want to continue that."
    DYK? Tusk, the University's live mascot, is a Russian boar that resembles a razorback wild hog found in the Arkansas wilderness. Traditional costumed mascots include Big Red the Fighting Razorback; Sue E. Pig, a female hog; and Pork Chop, a kid-sized mascot.
  • University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA):
    Mascot: King Triton
    What students say: "It shows mightiness and is related to the ocean, which is where UCSD is near"; "School spirit is always high."
    DYK? According to UCSD, the mighty sea warrior and demigod was chosen as the Tritons' mascot in 1964 because of the school's proximity to the Pacific Ocean and connection to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA):
    Mascot: Sammy the Slug
    What students say: "This mascot is by far the most unique and fun that I know of, and it’s perfect for Northern California where banana slugs are a common sight"; "It’s creative and unique"; "It's the most unexpected mascot!"
    DYK? The Banana Slugs became UCSC's official team name in 1986 after a student vote; they shot down the idea of the sea lion and preferred the low-key competitive nature of the slug. John Travolta famously wore a UC Santa Cruz T-shirt with the "Fiat Slug" logo in Pulp Fiction.
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway, AR):
    Mascot: Bruce D. Bear
    What students say: "Bruce was and is chosen as their mascot to represent pride for UCA and doesn't look half bad on the merch"; "Bears are really strong animals. Not only that, but they are also very caring toward each other. I believe this description is exactly the kind of people I would enjoy being around while going to school"; "They are the best because they represent our school fantastically!"
    DYK? UCA chose a bear as its mascot in 1920 in part because Arkansas is known as the Bear State. They were previously known as the Tutors, Teachers, and Pedagogues when the school was called the Arkansas State Normal School.
  • University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO):
    Mascot: Ralphie and Chip the Buffalo
    What students say: "The have a live buffalo named Ralphie. That is probably the most sick thing ever"; "A real buffalo named Ralphie runs on the football field before games."
    DYK? Chip has been a costumed mascot for CU Boulder since the 1980s, while Ralphie the live buffalo (technically a North American bison) first appeared in 1966. Ralphie has always been a female since they weigh around 1,000 pounds less and have a better temperament than males.
  • University of Georgia (Athens, GA):
    Mascot: Uga the Bulldog
    What students say: "Life is nothing without a dog in your life to love."
    DYK? Uga first appeared in 1956, with many different pure white English bulldogs stepping in as the mascot throughout the years. According to the University, UGA is the only major college that buries its live mascots within the confines of its stadium when they pass on.
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA):
    Mascot: Herky the Hawk
    What students say: "He is a hawk so he is fast and powerful"; "He is strong and full of energy!"
    DYK? Journalism instructor Richard Spencer III first drew a cartoon character hawk for the University in 1948. The Hawkeyes mascot became costumed in the mid-1950s, earned his name through a statewide contest, and attends over 500 hours of campus events each year.
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY):
    Mascot: The Wildcat and Scratch
    What students say: "I attended UK before COVID and it was by far one of the most magical campuses and was filled with so many great professors and people."
    DYK? The Wildcat made its first appearance in 1976, while Scratch was introduced later as a child-friendly version for the UK Junior Wildcat Club. Both costumed mascots attend every football and basketball game on campus.
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV):
    Mascot: Hey Reb!
    What students say: "UNLV's Reb is the best mascot because of the iconic big bulky chin and the large white mustache"; "The UNLV Rebels are legendary in sports. There is nothing like the scarlet and grey!"
    DYK? The Rebels' nickname dates back to the mid-1950s, but the University's first mascot was Beauregard—a cartoon wolf wearing a Confederate uniform—which was used from 1957–1976. Hey Reb! was created in 1982 by local artist Mike Miller and was modeled after a Wild West character. The mascot was retired in 2021, and UNLV currently has no plans to replace it.
  • Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY):
    Mascot: Big Red
    What students say: "Western University's mascot is Big Red, a giant blob of its titular color that resembles an angry cousin of Grimace the tastebud. The identity of Big Red remains a mystery; no one is sure what exactly the oblong red shape is supposed to be, so it can be anything"; "Big Red is the best mascot because it is seen as fun, friendly, and welcoming."
    DYK? Big Red first appeared during the 1979 basketball season and has two signature dance moves: the belly slide and the belly shake.

Classic Characters

  • Augustana College (Rock Island, IL):
    Mascot: Gus the Viking
    What students say: "He's the best because he appears threatening and intimidating while being kind and helpful."
    DYK? Gus's full name is Gustav Mauler.
  • Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY):
    Mascot: Valor the Knight
    What students say: "He exemplifies the duties of fighting for your beliefs and also brings a sense of medieval times to campus. A mascot such as Valor inspires us to stay true to our course and stick it out 'til the end, and even when we reach the end, try to go beyond that—push ourselves to our fullest capability, like the Knights did long ago."
    DYK? Students voted to name the Knight "Valor" in 2020; other contenders included Bobby B., Clank, Knightro, and Rusty.
  • Bentley University (Waltham, MA):
    Mascot: Flex the Falcon
    DYK? Flex's birthday is September 30 and is celebrated during Falcon Fest around homecoming weekend.
  • Bluefield University (Bluefield, VA):
    Mascot: Victor E. Ram
    What students say: "Victor is the best because, as his name implies, he carries the school spirit of victory and perseverance."
    DYK? Victor E. got his name in 2013 with a contest held by the Student Union Board. Other potential names included Jean Claude Van Ram, Rowdy, Aries, Cam the Ram, Sir Ram a Lot, Rocky, Ramsey, Rambo, and Delgado (in memory of former academic dean Dr. Primitivo Delgado).
  • California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton, CA):
    Mascot: Tuffy the Titan
    What students say: "Elephants are considered lucky and prosperity. They represent wisdom, long life, memory, and vitality."
    DYK? Tuffy became Cal State Fullerton's mascot in 1962 after the Elephant Racing Club sent invitations to 50 other colleges to compete in the "First Intercollegiate Elephant Race in Human History." Though it started as a practical joke, the event came to fruition with over 10,000 spectators and 15 elephant entrants.
  • California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento, CA):
    Mascot: Herky the Hornet
    What students say: "They are very cheerful and in school activities."
    DYK? Herky was born in 1947, but how he got his name is campus folklore. He might be named after Hercules the Greek god, the WWII combat ship USS Hercules, or something else entirely, according to University officials!
  • California State University, San Bernardino (San Bernardino, CA):
    Mascot: Cody the Coyote
    What students say: "They're the best because there are actual coyotes that you can see around there, and they have an enchanting chant called 'Go Yotes!'"
    DYK? The University's first unofficial mascot was a Saint Bernard that a physics professor brought to campus events. This changed in 1973 when students voted and decided that coyotes were more representative of the campus and surrounding area.
  • California State University, San Marcos (San Marcos, CA):
    Mascot: Crash the Cougar
    DYK? The University's original mascot was a Tukwut—the word for a California mountain lion in the local Native American Luiseño Tribe's language—but changed to a cougar in 2017. Crash wears #89 to represent the year Cal State San Marcos was founded in the CSU System.
  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids, MI):
    Mascot: Joust the Knight
    What students say: "It's the best In my opinion because it's like they are protecting the school."
    DYK? Though the Knight wasn't officially named the school mascot until 2008, Calvin was nicknamed the Knights ever since a reporter in the 1920s confused the term “Calvin-ites" when referring to the University's athletic teams.
  • Chadron State College (Chadron, NE):
    Mascot: Elmo Eagle
    What students say: "They symbolize unity and courage."
    DYK? The College's teams have been called the Eagles since the school was founded in 1911, but Elmo the Eagle first appeared in the early 1980s. He enjoys dropping the puck at hockey games, visiting local elementary schools, dancing with the cheerleaders, and entertaining fans at campus events.
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO):
    Mascot: CAM the Ram
    DYK? The live mascot was named in 1946 during a contest in which an alumnus proposed the acronym CAM for Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, the school's name at the time.
  • DeSales University (Center Valley, PA):
    Mascot: Frankie the Bulldog
    What students say: "I love dogs. Go Bulldogs!"
    DYK? Frankie is a French bulldog and was introduced in 2000 when Allentown College of St. Francis De Sales changed its name and its longtime centaur mascot. The bulldog was chosen over a deacon, dragon, patriot, and phoenix.
  • ERAU—Daytona Beach (Daytona Beach, FL):
    Mascot: Ernie the Eagle
    What students say: "He helps the students fly like an eagle!"
    DYK? Ernie is part of the cheerleading team and appears at University sporting events on both campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida; and Prescott, Arizona.
  • Eastern Maine Community College (Bangor, ME):
    Mascot: Golden Eagles
    What students say: "The mascot walks around campus in full gear and greets students."
  • Elmira College (Elmira, NY):
    Mascot: Simeon the Soaring Eagle
    DYK? The Soaring Eagle has been the College's official mascot since the early 1970s (since the school is located in "The Soaring Capital of America") but didn't have a name until 2022. Simeon Benjamin was a local businessman and founder of Elmira College.
  • Fordham University (Bronx, NY):
    Mascot: The Ram
    What students say: "It's iconic to what Fordham is. Whether it's the Ramily or Ram Van, you can find the mascot wherever you go on the campus grounds."
    DYK? From 1925–1975, the University had many different live rams (all named Ramses) who lived on campus and were kidnapped by other schools multiple times. A student in a costume replaced the live mascot after Ramses XXVIII died in 1978.
  • Georgetown University (Washington, DC):
    Mascot: Jack the Bulldog
    What students say: "A real one and one in costume—both are cute and energetic."
    DYK? A bulldog was formally adopted in 1962 after a history of many other dog mascots, including a terrier named Stubby, a Great Dane named Butch, and another terrier named Hoya (which stuck for the school's athletic teams, the Hoyas). Live bulldogs have acted as mascots throughout the years, with a costumed mascot being introduced in 1979.
  • Hampton University (Hampton, VA):
    Mascot: Pete (Mr. Pirate)
    DYK? The first costumed pirate mascot at Hampton debuted in 1984. The student, Dana Hubbard '86, also claims to be the first costumed mascot in the National Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989!
  • Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA):
    Mascot: Sparky the Eagle
    What students say: "Sparky is everywhere, often doing giveaways, taking pics with people, and always entertaining the crowd."
    DYK? Sparky has entertained Liberty Flames fans since 1977 and has qualified for the UCA Mascot National Championship in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020, winning in 2016 in the open division.
  • Los Angeles City College (Los Angeles, CA):
    Mascot: Cubby
    DYK? LACC's mascot is fierce but philanthropic! Cubby’s Closet opened in 2023 as a new "store" on the LACC campus where students can grab clothes, books, toys, and accessories, all free of charge.
  • Misericordia University (Dallas, PA):
    Mascot: Archibald "Archie" McGrowl
    What students say: "Cougar, animal, fun!"
    DYK? The Misericordia Cougar was introduced in 1986, replacing a Highland terrier named McGinty and bringing in the "Paw Power" era. Archie's name was suggested by a student during a 2012 contest and pays homage to the campus's iconic arch at the entrance.
  • Molloy University (Rockville Centre, NY):
    Mascot: Victor E. Lion
    DYK? Molloy's teams have been called the Lions since the school was founded in 1955. The University seal depicts a black lion between three red trefoils from the coat of arms of Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy, the school's namesake.
  • Montana State University—Billings (Billings, MT):
    Mascot: Buzz the Yellowjacket
    What students say: "They are friendly and helpful."
    DYK? Buzz competed in the 2004 United Performing Association’s Mascot Challenge, an open division competition consisting of a three-minute routine that's judged on animation, props and music, creativity, and audience appeal.
  • New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich, RI):
    Mascot: Techie the Tiger
    DYK? The Tech Tigers mascot was introduced in 2018. Techie is appropriately featured on the school's eSports logo looking ferocious and wearing a wireless headset.
  • Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA):
    Mascot: Oswald the Tiger
    What students say: "Oswald is adorable, fun, and friendly."
    DYK? The tiger mascot started out as papier mache but was "destroyed in a student melee" in 1948. It turned into a costumed mascot in the 1950s.
  • Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT):
    Mascot: Otus the Owl
    What students say: "I love owls!"
    DYK? Before they were called the Owls, the University's sports teams were called the Educators and the Teachers as a nod to the school's former name, New Haven State Teachers College.
  • Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX):
    Mascot: Peruna the Mustang
    DYK? Peruna is a live black stallion that runs across the football field; the mascot was first introduced in 1932 and is named after a Prohibition-era, alcohol-laced over-the-counter "medicine" called Peruna Tonic. SMU also has a Human Peruna mascot that attends games and encourages fans to "Pony Up!"
  • Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX):
    Mascot: The Pirates
    DYK? The University's nickname took quite a turn in 1916; the athletic teams were once known as the Methodists, but the school newspaper declared them the Pirates after a victory led to "a piratical raid" by the football team, disturbing the peace on campus.
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ):
    Mascot: Attila the Duck
    What students say: "It is very amusing and fun and super funny."
    DYK? A duck character was created in 1904 to promote the school's new student newspaper. It grew in popularity and became the official mascot in 1972, when Attila was named by a student during a contest run by the campus bookstore.
  • Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA):
    Mascot: Benny the Hawk
    DYK? Benny was chosen as the River Hawks mascot by students in 2016 and is named after University founder Benjamin Kurtz.
  • Trine University (Angola, IN):
    Mascot: Storm the White Tiger
    What students say: "Storm is the best mascot because it helps the school build a sense of community by connecting with their mascot. He symbolizes the values, history, and culture of Trine."
    DYK? Storm is part of the Thunder crew. His shoe size is 23 extra wide, and his favorite food is fish sticks.
  • University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT):
    Mascot: Jonathan the Husky
    What students say: "Huskies are adorable!"
    DYK? There are two versions of Jonathan—a live dog and a costumed character. He's named after Jonathan Trumbull, who was governor when Connecticut first became a state during the American Revolution.
  • University of Maine (Orono, ME):
    Mascot: Bananas T. Bear
    What students say: "He represents all the wildlife of northern Maine."
    DYK? Bananas has been part of the UMaine community since 1914. That's when a live black bear was first brought to a football rally and the crowd went "bananas"—hence the name!

Unique Names

  • Boston University (Boston, MA):
    Mascot: Rhett the Boston Terrier
    What students say: "He connects to the city and has a good design."
    DYK? BU students voted for a Boston Terrier mascot over a bull moose in 1922. The costumed Rhett has been around since 1983, and many Boston Terrier pups have been designated as live mascots since the '20s, including Pep, Gulliver, Kappa, Fumbles, and more.
  • California Baptist University (Riverside, CA):
    Mascot: Lance the Lancer
    What students say: "He’s cool and does the thing with the fingers."
    DYK? Lance was first introduced in 1955 and encourages fans to "Lance Up" by holding up two fingers and a thumb (sort of like an "L") straight into the air during games.
  • California State University, Northridge (Northridge, CA):
    Mascot: Matty the Matador
    What students say: "He is unique and not a repetitive mascot like a bear or tiger. The colors he wears are also cool: red, black, and white."
    DYK? Students chose “The Matador” as the official mascot in 1958 out of 158 recommendations; other finalists included the Apollos, Falcons, Rancheros, and Titans.
  • Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO):
    Mascot: Blaster the Burro; Marvin the Miner
    What students say: "Blaster. Just look at him; he speaks for himself."
    DYK? Costumed Blaster was introduced in 2018 to complement the live mascot—a real oversized miniature burro who lives at Laughing Valley Ranch in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The live Blaster travels to campus for football games but unfortunately isn't allowed at indoor events, which is where the new Blaster comes in. The School's other mascot, Marvin the Miner, is named after Marv Kay, a legendary Mines alumnus, football coach, and athletics director.
  • Eastern Arizona College (Thatcher, AZ):
    Mascot: Gila Hank the Fighting Gila Monster
    What students say: "Gila Hank looks so cool."
    DYK? Pronounced HEE-luh, the Gila monster is a venomous lizard native to the Southwestern region of the US. EAC has been known as the Fighting Gila Monsters since 1911, and Gila Hank has been the mascot since 1947, though he was modernized in 2022.
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL):
    Mascot: Osceola and Renegade
    What students say: "They are the best because they are authentic and, more importantly, have the support and blessing of the local Seminole Tribe in Florida."
    DYK? According to the University, "FSU does not have a mascot, but rather a symbol that we respect and honor." The school and Tribe work together to ensure the use of the name and likeness are consistent with native values. This includes a dignified depiction of Seminole leader and warrior Osceola, who rides an Appaloosa horse named Renegade at football games.
  • Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ):
    Mascot: Thunder the Antelope
    DYK? An antelope replaced GCU's first mascot—the Purple People Eater—in 1981. But Thunder got his name around 2008; he was previously called Andy the Antelope and Johnny Lope.
  • Millersville University (Millersville, PA):
    Mascot: The Marauder and Skully
    What students say: "Skully is so excited and happy to see students all the time!"
    DYK? Millersville is one of just three four-year universities in the country that has a Marauder (a type of pirate) as its mascot and claims to be the very first, having established the name in 1936. The University's mascot team also includes Skully, a spirited red parrot with an eye patch.
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC):
    Mascot: Tuffy and the Wolfpack
    What students say: "He’s the best because nothing can be cuter than a dog."
    DYK? The Wolfpack has had several different mascot members, including a live timber wolf that roamed the sidelines at football games in 1947; costumed Mr. and Ms. Wolf, who got married during halftime of a men's basketball game in 1981 (they changed their last name to "Wuf" a year later); and the current live mascot, a Tamaskan Dog named Tuffy.
  • Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ):
    Mascot: Louie the Lumberjack
    What students say: "It's human and has its roots in being tough and steadfast."
    DYK? As part of a new tradition, the NAU Logging Sports Club saws a slice from a tree trunk (aka a "Lumberjack tree cookie") with a chainsaw every time the football team scores at home.
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK):
    Mascot: Pistol Pete
    What students say: "He is original and a cowboy, and what the school is known for as an AG [agriculture education] school."
    DYK? Pistol Pete is named after Frank B. Eaton, a real cowboy who earned the nickname with his expert marksmanship.
  • Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR):
    Mascot: Benny Beaver
    What students say: "They somehow make a beaver look competitive and not like a total pushover."
    DYK? Benny became OSU's official mascot in 1952 after three others didn't stick: a coyote named Jimmie; Doc Bell, an actual doctor and pastor in the city of Corvallis; and a live beaver named Bevo.
  • Southern Utah University (Cedar City, UT):
    Mascot: The Thunderbird (T-Bird)
    DYK? According to SUU, the University's teams were nicknamed the Aggies, Broncos, and Prairie Dogs before they settled on the T-Birds—"a mythical mascot capable of producing thunder, lightning, and rain."
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX):
    Mascot: The Horned Frog
    DYK? The Horned Frog is actually a lizard that looks like a toad. They were chosen as TCU's mascot in 1897 because the football field was covered with them—plus, they are tough and intimidating to predators!
  • The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park (Hyde Park, NY):
    Mascot: Sting the Bee
    What students say: "It stands out, it's cute, and it connects to the food world."
    DYK? Though CIA's athletic teams are known as the Steels—named after a tool used to sharpen knives—Sting was inspired by the winners of a student mascot contest in 2021.
  • The Ohio State University—Columbus (Columbus, OH):
    Mascot: Brutus Buckeye
    What students say: "His energy, his colors, HE IS BRUTUS."
    DYK? Two students built a paper-mache mascot resembling a buckeye nut (from the official state tree) in 1965, but it couldn't stand up to Ohio winter weather. A fiberglass mascot was later introduced with two faces: a happy smile for good moments during football games, and a frown for bad ones. The costume got an upgrade in the 1980s, which is now much lighter and easier to wear.
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS):
    Mascot: Big Jay and Baby Jay the Jayhawks
    What students say: "This is the best mascot because it's cute, bright, bold, and memorable all at the same time."
    DYK? A Jayhawk is a mythical bird that's a combination of a bluejay and a sparrow hawk. Big Jay became a costumed mascot in the 1960s, and his companion Baby Jay was hatched from an egg during halftime of the 1971 homecoming football game.
  • University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN):
    Mascot: Leprechaun
    DYK? The side view of a fierce Leprechaun with his fists up was first designed for the Fighting Irish in the 1960s. Before this, the University's athletic teams were represented by Irish terriers, until the Leprechaun became the official mascot in 1965. The live version is a student who's chosen at an annual tryout and dresses in a green suit and Irish hat.
  • University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC):
    Mascot: Cocky the Gamecock
    What students say: "He’s the best of the best and always gets the crowd going at the games."
    DYK? Cocky has cheered on the Gamecocks since 1980. Until 2023, he made a grand entrance to every football game by popping out of a magic black box on the field to 2001: A Space Odyssey, complete with fireworks. A new tradition sees him riding in on a train to the same song and spectacle.
  • Washington & Jefferson College (Washington, PA):
    Mascot: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
    What students say: "It has meaning behind it. It used to be two separate colleges named after the presidents, but then they joined together to make W&J."
    DYK? The athletic teams were once known as the Jaymen, but this name stopped being used even before the College became coeducational in 1970. The teams are now called the Presidents.

Source: CX Student Users

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About This List

College mascots are more than just symbols; they embody the vibrant, often quirky, and fiercely loyal spirit of their respective institutions. We wanted to know which mascots students loved the most, so we sent a survey to the CollegeXpress community asking for their opinions. Their answers helped us create this list of the best college mascots in the country! From the ferocious to the feathered, the cute to the cunning, these mascots unite fans and athletes in a shared passion, acting as a symbol of school spirit, team camaraderie, and campus pride. See why students love them and learn some fun facts about these iconic figures in the world of college sports, each one adding a touch of magic to the game day experience!

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