HOME ~ College Football History
Crimson and Cream
The official school colors of crimson and cream became official about a
century ago and you can still see those colors worn proudly by Sooner
athletes and fans alike on gamedays or when they want to show their love
for the university.
In the fall of 1895, Miss May Overstreet, the only woman on the faculty,
was asked to chair a committee to select the colors of the university.
The committee decided the colors should be crimson and cream and an
elaborate display of the colors was draped above a platform before the
student body. The student body approved with great enthusiasm and
immediately pennants, banners, badges and decorations of every
description appeared on the streets, in the windows, at chapel, in
classrooms, and all public places; however, local merchants could not
supply the demand.
Even though the school colors have evolved to red and white over the
years, you can ask any self-respecting Sooner what the colors are and
they will proudly announce “Crimson and Cream.”
On gamedays, a sea of crimson rolls through OU’s home arenas and all
Sooners are urged to wear the official colors to show the rest of the
country what school spirit and Sooner Pride is all about.
The University of Oklahoma mascot has evolved through the years and the
mascots involved just adds to the lore of Soonerdom. Though the
different mascots were completely different from each other, make no
mistake: They were all Sooners.
Mex ... OU’s First Mascot
During OU football and baseball games from 1915-1928, Mex the Dog wore a
red sweater with a big red letter “O” on the side. One of his main jobs
was to keep stray dogs from roaming the field during a game in the days
when the football field was more accessible to non-ticketholders. Before
his career as a mascot, Mex was just a helpless “dog waif.” Then, a U.S.
Army field hospital medic found him in Mexico in 1914 during the Mexican
Revolution unrest. Mott Keys was stationed along the Mexican border near
Laredo, Texas, and found the dog among a litter of abandoned pups one
night on the Mexican side.
Mex was adopted by Keys’ company, and when Keys finished his duty and
moved to Hollis, Oklahoma, he took Mex. He later attended OU and Mex
followed him again. At OU, Mex’s experience as an Army medic company
mascot landed him the job with the football team and a home in the Kappa
Sigma fraternity house. He quickly became Oklahoma’s most famous dog. “A
joyous staccato bark cheered Sooner touchdowns” at football games and a
“victory woof” punctuated home runs at baseball games. But Mex began to
gain national attention in October of 1924 after OU lost a game to Drake
University 28-0. The Sooners also lost Mex.
Mex did not board the train heading home in Arkansas City, Kansas.
Rumors spread across the Missouri Valley, the conference OU played in at
the time, that Mex was returning to attack the Drake Bulldogs and avenge
the loss. A 50-cent reward was offered, and Mex was found by upset OU
graduates J.D. Hull, Hughes B. Davis and J.C. Henley. Mex was discovered
pacing in the train station platform in Arkansas City. The men drove Mex
to the next Saturday game at Stillwater. After Mex was once poisoned by
non-Sooner fans, the dog learned to eat only from the hands of his
caretakers. Mex died of old age on April 30, 1928 and he was so popular
among students and faculty that the university closed for his funeral
and procession on May 2, 1928. He was buried in a small casket somewhere
under the existing stadium.
On April 17, 1970, President Hollomon banished Little Red, the
unofficial mascot who danced on the sidelines of Owen Field. Although he
was never the official OU mascot, the Indian dancer had become a
traditional part of the games since the 1940s.
The Sooner Schooner is a Conestoga, or covered wagon, reminiscent of the
mode of travel of the pioneers who settled in Oklahoma. The Schooner is
powered by matching white ponies named Boomer and Sooner and ventures
onto Owen Field as a triumphant victory ride after OU scores. Although
the Schooner was introduced in 1964, it did not become the official
mascot until 1980. Besides being a constant part of gamedays, the
Schooner is well-recognized by college football fans across the country
and it also makes regular appearances at university functions.
What is a "Sooner"?
College sports fans are hard-pressed to find a nickname that is as
unique and as tied-in to a state's history as a Sooner. The University
of Oklahoma is the only school known as Sooners and those who claim that
they are Sooners say it with pride.
The Oklahoma territory opened with the Land Run of 1889. Settlers from
across the globe, seeking free land, made their way to the prairies of
the plains to stake their claim to a new life. One of the few rules to
claiming a lot of land was that all participants were to start at the
same time, on the boom of a cannon. All settlers who started then were
labeled as "Boomers" and the ones who went too soon were called
OU athletic teams were called either Rough Riders or Boomers for 10
years before the current Sooner nickname emerged in 1908. The university
actually derived their name from a pep club called “The Sooner Rooters.”
The success of University of Oklahoma athletic teams over the years have
made the nickname synonymous with winning.
Fight Song "Boomer Sooner"
It is clear to see that the last line of the yell was used to make the
first verse of “Boomer Sooner,” and is one of the most recognizable
college fight songs in the country. It is performed by The Pride of
Oklahoma (the OU marching band) at most Sooner athletic events and
immediately evokes enthusiasm from OU fans and sends chills down the
spines of those who dare to oppose them.
In 1905, Arthur M. Alden, a student in history and physiology whose
father was a Norman jeweler, wrote the lyrics to the fight song,
borrowing the tune from Yale University’s “Boola Boola” but improvising
the words. A year later, an addition was made to it from North
Carolina’s “I’m a Tarheel Born” and the two combined from the
university’s fight song today.
Though the tune was first made known by Yale, the everlasting success of
Sooner squads have taken the melody of “Boomer Sooner” to national
Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner
Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner
Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner
Boomer Sooner, OK U!
Oklahoma, OK U!
I’m a Sooner-born and Sooner-bred
and when I die, I’ll be Sooner-dead
Rah Oklahoma, Rah Oklahoma
Rah Oklahoma, OK U!