With the Cincinnati Bearcats program on the rise and ready to compete in the Big 12, the great stories behind the UC nickname and mascot are gaining a brighter spotlight
The University of Cincinnati features a great nickname and mascot tradition and also plays in one of college football's oldest stadiums. Bearcat fans wear their red and black and urge their teams on by singing the University's fight song, "Cheer Cincinnati."
Cincinnati football was born in 1885. Their match up against Miami in 1888 is known as the first intercollegiate football game held within the state of Ohio. Although overshadowed by the school's basketball program through the years, UC football has become more established in recent years. Led by head Coach Brian Kelly, the Bearcats earned an Orange Bowl appearance in 2008 and followed with a Sugar Bowl bid the following season.
University Mascot: Bearcat
The Cincinnati costumed mascot has a rich history. It all began in 1927, when the University of Cincinnati was looking to add some life to their football games and help foster school spirit. In response, they created their first “mascot” – an orange-and-black bear cub named Tom Corbett. Tom was quickly popular amongst fans and players alike, signaling the beginning of the beloved tradition that continues today!
Just two years later in 1929 Tom sadly passed away due to illness and his place in sports history was secured with a bronze bust at Nippert Stadium.
There has been multiple incarnations of the beloved Bearcat mascot, each with its own flair and story. The current official costume is over 6 ft tall and weighs approximately 40 lbs. Though its design varies slightly from year to year, the familiar red eyes, unique one-of-a-kind tail, hands on hips stance remain unchanged in construction. It takes about 45 minutes for one person to put together the costume for use at games or public appearances making it look almost like a real bear!
The costuming department of UC works hard each year to keep up with fan demands and make sure our beloved mascot looks top notch!
A costumed mascot has been a long-time feature at Cincinnati games. This mascot prowled the Bearcats sidelines in the 1950s.
Cincinnati Nickname Bearcats
The University's nickname first gained footing following a cartoon published in 1912 on the front page of the student newspaper. The cartoon featured a frightend UK Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled as a "Cincinnati Bear Cat." The Cincinnati home crowd found favor with the description and yelled, "Come on, Bear-Cat during the team's 14-7 win over Kentucky.
The nickname gained additional favor in 1914 as a salute to a fiery player on the school's football team. Fullback Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr impressed UC fans so much during a game against Kentucky, that a cheerleader created a chant that "They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side."
UC in the Heisman Voting
The Bearcats football Stadium is the 4th oldest playing site and 5th oldest stadium in college football. It was originally called Varsity Field when it opened in 1901. As funds allowed, a brick and concrete structure was built.
The stadium was named after James Gamble Nippert who was a player on the 1923 football team. Nippert died of blood poisoning after sustaining a spike wound injury in the final game of the season. The stadium has a capacity of 35,097 and once housed the Cincinnati Bengals in the late 1960s.
Cincinnati Football Facts
- Cincinnati Mascot: The Bearcat became the
university's mascot in 1914.
- School's Fight Song: Bearcat fans know it by
heart and it's called "Cheer Cincy."
- Cincinnati's oldest football rivalry: The school
first played Miami University in 1888 and the two
schools still square off annually for the "Victory
Bell." The school's contest against Louisville first
began in 1929 and Cincy battles the Cardinals
for the "Keg of Nails" Trophy.
- Cincy's home football stadium - Bearcat football
is played at Nippert Stadium
- School's first bowl game: An appearance in the
1947 Sun Bowl marked the university's first bowl
game. Cincinnati defeated Virginia Tech 18-6.