According to President
Emeritus Walter H Ryle, the term “bulldog” was first used in connection with
the school’s football team in 1909 when Coach O.C. Bell called his players
bulldogs – it wasn’t an official term, just a description.
In 1915, after several
losing seasons – and no wins at all in 1914 – a committee, including student
Walter Ryle, was formed to see what could be done about reviving school spirit.
The student body had stuck with the team, according to team member and later
H.L. “Curly” McWilliams. “That 1914 team … did not quit.
They instilled a spirit of enthusiasm in the student body …” who gave them a
hearty send off to every game played away from home and were at the train to
greet them when they returned.
The students had become
discouraged, though, and the committee decided that some type of emblem to
inspire enthusiasm was needed. They suggested that the bulldog be adopted as
the team mascot “because of his tenacity and ability to hold on and fight
desperately until the end. A bulldog does not quit...” The exact words that
McWilliams later used to describe that 1914 team. The next spring, the baseball
team played under the Bulldog name for the first time and the football team
began using it a year later.
In the years since, bulldogs
in both canine and human form have appeared on the sidelines to help cheer the
athletic teams on to victory. They often show up at picnics and other campus
events as well.