Mascots are much more than a silly costume. College mascots play an important role in encouraging school spirit and provide a glimpse into a college's history and values.
The role of college mascots is to encourage athletes to perform at their best and to entertain the fans. Through their costumes, dances and chants, college mascots also encourage students at large to take pride in their school. At their best, they are more than simply entertainment, but will encourage students and athletes to achieve their potential. At their worst, mascots can be symbols of out of control student behavior and a source of embarrassment to administrators. This list of America's top most famous college mascots will entertain and perhaps inspire you to follow in their footsteps.
Big Green (Dartmouth College)
Dressed like an oversized beer keg, Big Green is the mascot of Dartmouth College. Big Green is also the nickname used for the college's sports teams. It became the unofficial mascot of Dartmouth in the 1970s, replacing an earlier Native American mascot which had become controversial.
Mike The Tiger (Louisiana State University)
Mike The Tiger is the official mascot of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The current mascot is a real live Siberian-Bengali tiger who has been at the university since 2007. The tradition of tiger mascots at Louisiana State University dates back to 1936. Mike the Tiger is a well known part of the university's traditions and athletics. When not participating in games (and intimidating the opposition during home games), he is cared for at the University's veterinary school.
Uga (University of Georgia)
Since 1956, "Uga" has been the official English bull dog mascot of the University of Georgia. The dogs are owned and cared for the Seilers family in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to the dog, the University of Georgia also has a costumed mascot ("Hairy Dawg") who dresses up as a bulldog. In addition to most home and away athletic games, Uga is present at other university events.
Albert and Alberta Gator (University of Florida)
Albert and Alberta Gator are the official mascots of the University of Florida. In the early 20th century, the University of Florida choose the alligator as its mascot and originally had live alligator as the school's mascot. In 1970, the university switched to a pair of costumed mascots Albert Gator (male) and Alberta Gator (female).The logo on University of Florida sports teams is a stylized "Fighting Gator."
Army Mules (United States Military Academy)
Many colleges use an animal as their mascot or symbol, but Westpoint is unusual for having a trio of animals - three mules - serve as the Academy mascot. The tradition of mule as mascot at the U.S. Military Academy was introduced in 1899 but the tradition has evolved since that time. The modern day mules, known as "Army Mules", are present at parades, games and other Academy events. As with Louisiana State University mascot discussed above, the Army Mules are cared for by the Army Veterinary Corps.
These reference contains photographs and further information about the top college mascots discussed in this article.
- The 50 Best Mascots in College Football, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/505613-the-50-best-mascots-in-college-football
- Mascot Power Rankings (2007), http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/sioncampus/06/20/mascot.rankings/index.html
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Kkmurray
- Photo Credit: Georgia Dogs, http://www.georgiadogs.com/trads/uga-home.html