Ohio University: decades without a name

First Bobcat in Costume with Designer, 1960

Every Ohio University student is proud to be associated with the Bobcat brand. With honor, they continually shout “Go Bobcats!” to cheer on OU teams during games. But has anyone wondered how “Bobcat,” an animal’s name, became the nickname of Ohio University? Maybe not, but here it is.

In 1925, members of the Ohio University athletics board saw the need to have a nickname for the schools’ teams which were simply referred to as “OHIO” or “Green and White.” Schools that had nicknames mocked and called OU all sorts of names including “The Nameless Wonders.” Obviously, this did not sit well with the athletics board.

One morning, they announced a contest to allow students bring in their suggestion. Hundreds of names were submitted for a winning prize of ten dollars. After much scrutiny and deliberations, the name “Bobcat” was chosen. Hal H. Rowland, a student at the time, and resident of Athens took home the prize. The name was officially passed and adopted by one of OU’s former president, E.B Bryan on December 7, 1925. This was 29 years after the colors green and white were chosen. So, imagine three decades of no name. Your guess is as good as mine.

The 1925-26 baseball squad, the first team to play with the new name proudly used it in their next game and beat Denison 33-21.

1986 Bobcat
1986 Bobcat
1984 Bobcat
1984 Bobcat

Giving life to the Bobcat

The time was ripe to give life to the Bobcat. Men from Lincoln Hall made this decision to create a life-size costume of the character for the 1963 Homecoming because they wanted to “donate something permanent to the university.”

Plans were underway. A committee was formed to oversee the process. Schantz, a fine arts major and a costumier, created several designs until a final one was chosen. The head of the character was sent to France for creation after failed attempts to get it done in the U.S.; most importantly, labor was cheap. In cities like San Francisco and New York, the technique for the head, “papier-macheing,” was also not present.

The pants and gloves were sent to Van Horn and Sons in Philadelphia for sewing. A different company also in Philadelphia received contract for the hand-knit sweater which was expected to be 62 inches long and 42 inches wide.

The Lincoln Hall men spent a total of $250 on the mascot. The head costs $100, the sweater, $60 and the pants, $28. Padding for the stomach and rear was $35 and gloves, $6. After, the search for the person going to wear these was the next hurdle. They needed someone shorter than 5’ 11’’ in height. A member of the 1963 class and a Lincoln Hall resident, Dan Nicholas became the proud “Mr. Bobcat” as it was called. Then they decided the tradition must go on, and that, all Mr. Bobcats must come from the hall. Mr. Bobcat was then made a permanent member of the cheerleading group at all football and basketball games. His first appearance was during the 1960 Homecoming celebrations.


Mr. Bobcat’s first game

1990 Bobcat

During the Homecoming, OU was scheduled to play their arch rival Miami Redskins (now the Redhawks). The Redskins had always been a thorn the in flesh of the Bobcats, winning all of the games played so far. On October 22 of this same year, they visited the Bobcats hoping to clinch their fourteenth victory. Little did they know Bobcat was now a living character that was going to ensure his kingdom was not defeated.

“The “animal” sprang from the tunnel under the stands, gave the hated Redskins a menacing sneer and signaled victory for Ohio.” The crowd stood and roared with a vengeance.” Ohio eventually won by thrashing Miami 10-0 and crowned the NCAA National College Champion. All credit went to Mr. Bobcat.

Since then, the mascot has undergone several changes in appearance.

Photo Credit: Ohio University Archives




What stores do OU shoppers want in Athens?

Ohio University students love and appreciate what the school brings, but there are a lot of things that students wish we had. We may wish for some popular stores like Victoria’s Secret or Urban Outfitters as well as more prestigious brands like Nike or Adidas. Let’s be honest… Russell just isn’t what gets OU shoppers to buy Ohio athletic gear, so personally I would love a Dick’s or Sports Authority. But this isn’t about me, let’s see what OU shoppers wanted to bring to Athens!


Out of all of the people that were asked, about 40 percent of students would want a Target at Ohio University! Not to say that Walmart isn’t Target , but… *insert subject change*

TJ Maxx, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters and an athletic store (Nike, Dick’s, Sports Authority, Lululemon) were the more common answers, but the store that I was shocked nobody said was Costco. Costco would be a great store for college students because of their low prices on bulked items, but that’s my opinion. I think that the Redskins are a playoff bound team, so I don’t judge our fellow OU shoppers on their choice of store.

In search of the College Bookstore’s hidden gem

I remember when I stepped on Court Street for the first time last June and the first building I saw was Ohio University’s College Bookstore. I wanted to buy everything in there and I wondered why. I believe it is because of the beautiful way the bookstore is broken down. The bookstore is organized into six sections, but if they placed the sections in different spots in the store, the store would not be as elegant. However, what surprised me the most was not the design, but that there was a downstairs to the bookstore. I learned of this five weeks into my sophomore year, I wonder how many other students knew of this.

What most students did know is that they could buy any Ohio University clothing item they wanted. As soon as you walk in, you see all the t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, sweatpants, etc. right there in the front of the store. This is smart business move because a majority of students are looking for those items to represent OU. For those who appreciate athletic apparel, such as myself, in the very next section you’ll find your drand shorts in an array of different colors.

This variety was shown throughout the entire store creating a beautiful site. After digging a little deeper, I figured out why my excitement kept rising. The further I walked into the store, the further my love grew for what was inside. I found the staples to my personal style. On the first section to the left of the mini ramp are a plethora of hats and socks, which happen to be my favorite clothing items.

Stairwell to DownstairsThey do a masterful job at displaying their store, but every store has their hidden sections. The college bookstore’s back three sections are the jersey section, the book buying section and the school supply section. Normally, these areas are not touched after the first few weeks of school. By putting these sections in the back, they make it easy for students to see what they want in the front of the store.

What amazed me was what was in the front of the store the whole time, but I never saw it. A staircase to a lower level! At the bottom of the staircase, there are two rooms. The first room is for arts and supplies, which is where you would get your paint, your exact-o knives, your rulers, those type of things. In the next room, you’ll see straight Greek life. Anything and everything Greek is hidden in the basement of the store.

All in all, the College Bookstore is the place to be.