The nickname “Wildcats” became synonymous with UK shortly after a 6-2 football road victory over Illinois in 1909. The Commander of the military department at Old State University told a group of students in a chapel service following the game that the Kentucky football team had “fought like Wildcats.” Later the name Wildcats became more and more popular among the UK students, supporters and members of the media. As a result, the nickname was adopted by the University. The university adopted blue and white as its official colors in 1892.
The University of Kentucky has three mascots: Blue – a live bobcat (In American English, “wildcat” generally refers to this particular mammal). He lives in the state-operated Salato Wildlife Education Center near the state capital of Frankfort. Unlike the school’s two costumed mascots, he never attends games, because bobcats are very shy by nature and do not react well with large crowds. The Wildcat – A costumed student, he made his debut in the 1976-77 school year. Scratch – A later addition, he is a more child-friendly version of the Wildcat.
Of interest …….. Paul “Bear” Bryant was Kentucky’s head football coach for eight seasons. Under Bryant, the Wildcats won the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl, the 1951 Sugar Bowl and the 1952 Cotton Bowl Classic.
I would normally wish the team that I am highlighting good luck in their next game – but……. the Wildcats play the University of Georgia, my alma mater on Saturday, November 5th. So, I will have to close by saying – GO DAWGS!!