HOME ~ College Football History
University of Texas at Austin cheerleader Harley Clark knew what he was
going to teach football fans at a 1955 pep rally was going to catch on
faster than poodle skirts and leather jackets. It had to. After all, the
Texas A&M Aggies' "Gig 'em" gesture had been around for years.
Clark sold the
student body on the symbolic approximation of the horns
of Longhorn mascot Bevo and, thus, began the "Hook 'em Horns" hand
The salute quickly took its place beside the university traditions of
singing The Eyes of Texas and lighting the Tower orange.
Fellow student Henry Pitts, who had come up with the Longhorn sign
during an inspired game of shadow casting, had shown Clark the sign
three days before the Texas Christian University game.
At the Gregory Gym pep rally for that game, Clark showed everyone how to
make the Horns hand sign and then proclaimed it to be used from that
time forward. By the thousands, the university faithful extended their
pinkies and index fingers toward heaven.
"A lot of my friends thought it would be too corny, but I thought it was
perfect," said Clark in a recent interview. "Everyone walked out of
Gregory Gym that night crazy with it."
The next day at the game, Clark watched the "Hook 'em Horns" gesture
surge around the stadium from one side to the other. "TCU had a fine
team," he said. "We had to make up in spirit what we lacked on the
In the mid-1950s, Clark was head cheerleader at the university, a
position that was elected by the student body.
"It was second only in importance to the Texas governor," he laughed. "I
loved the university so much I stayed for nine years (earning
undergraduate and master's degrees in government and a law degree)."
A major influence on his life was the late historian and university
Professor Walter Prescott Webb.
A retired state district judge, Clark now lives in Dripping Springs,
where he grows flowers and vegetables.
He was the judge who ruled in 1987 the state's system of public school
finance was unconstitutional because it discriminated against students
in property-poor districts. When he hung up his robes in 1989, Clark
joined the Austin office of the Houston-based law firm of Vinson &Elkins
for 10 years.
He remains connected to the university through the Friar Society, Tejas
Club, the Ex-Students' Association and the Cowboys Alumni group.
Clark still is introduced at university events as the person who
introduced the "Hook 'em" sign. At the recent 2001 Gone to Texas event
for new students, Clark recalled the birth of the gesture to the crowd:
"Our team, the band and the cheerleaders were on the stage at Gregory
Gym. After conducting the regular pep rally, I got the crowd quiet and
began explaining to them: 'You know how the Aggies have the "Gig 'Em"
thumbs-up hand sign (doing it as I spoke). I do not know of any other
college with a hand signal. But it is time we had one, too.'"
And, as they had done 46 years before, a roar went up from the crowd and
everyone happily and friskily waved "Hook 'em Horns."
Torchlight Parade for Texas-Oklahoma Game
The Torchlight Parade and Rally is the annual spirit event held on
campus to show support for the Longhorn football team as they go on to
play the University of Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Shootout in
Dallas Texas. The Rally is sponsored by the Texas Exes Student Chapter.
The first Torchlight Parade at UT took place on the day before
Thanksgiving (prior to the Texas A&M game) in 1916. They were held
sporadically until 1941 where they became a weekly event before football
Originally lead by the Texas Cowboys, a male spirit organization, the
Parade is walked on foot with various leaders of spirit organizations
holding torches leading the way. The Longhorn Band and the student body
follow the torchbearers in the parade. The parade starts at Kinsolving
Dormitory located at the northwestern end of campus on Dean Keeton and
Whitis Ave. The procession moves south down Guadalupe (the Drag) and
turns on 21st Street where it then proceeds up the South Mall to the
Main Mall where a "Texas" sized Pep Rally is held to show support for
the Longhorn football team.
The rally features performances by a variety of student groups and
performers and appearances by the Texas Cheerleaders, (who lead the
crowd in cheers) the Longhorn Band, "Smokey" the Cannon and Bevo, the
Rally also includes the dropping of a huge Texas Flag that drapes the
Main building. The Torchlight Parade and Rally tradition is organized
and operated by current students of the University of Texas at Austin
with close supervision by members of the Ex Students association.
Longhorn Mascots Bevo & Hook'Em
The Aggies branded the Longhorn mascot with the score of their victory,
which was later modified by UT closing in the 1 and 3 to form a "B", by
the "-" an "E", by squeezing in a "V" after the new "E" and leaving the
"O" to spell BEVO.
Bevo, a Texas Longhorn, has been a fixture at UT games since 1966. The
Longhorn mascot epitomizes the pride and tradition of Texas Football.
The Longhorn was an important part of the building of the American West.
Brought to the North American continent by Spanish explorers, the breed
has flourished for almost 500 years.
With its roots on the hot, arid plains of South Texas, the Longhorn
became a major food source for young America. First it survived with
little grass and food to eat. In a world vulnerable to attack, its long
horns and strong legs became effective weapons against wild animals
looking for prey.
When the railroad made places such as Omaha and Kansas City chief stops
for a nation moving west, cattlemen used the famed Chisolm Trail to
drive their cattle to market. The 1,000-mile trek would take months, but
while other breeds couldn’t make it because of the long odds, the lean,
mean Longhorn survived.
Independent, never tame, and always on guard, Longhorns grow to a ton or
more, and the span of the great horns can reach six to nine feet. In the
early 1900s, when The University of Texas was looking for a mascot, none
fit better for the young college than the Longhorn — a breed apart
because of its toughness and strength, determination to survive, and
will to win against all odds.
The UT Tower
The 27-story Main Building, the UT Tower, is bathed in orange-colored
lights to stand as a beacon to the Longhorns’ success.
The Tower is lit Orange on top with a White shaft for:
» Regular-season victories, except Texas A&M
» Non-Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Bowl victories
The Tower is lit entirely Orange for:
» Victories over Texas A&M
» Winning the Big 12 South
» Winning the Big 12 Championship Game
» Winning the Big 12 Regular-Season Championship
The Tower is lit entirely Orange with a #1 displayed for:
» National Championship
The Eyes of Texas
The Eyes of Texas are upon you all the live long day ...
The Eyes of Texas are upon you, you cannot get away ...
Do not think you can escape them at night or early in the morn ...
The Eyes of Texas are upon you 'till Gabriel blows his horn ."