HOME ~ College Football History
Until 1927, Bowling Green State University was referred to as
Bowling Green Normal University, for its teacher training curriculum.
The school's nickname was "The Normals." That year a man named Ivan
"Doc" Lake, who was a distinguished
1923 graduate of the university, and
active athletics booster, suggested that the university needed a new
nickname. Doc Lake, then a sports reporter for the local Sentinel
Tribune news paper, had just finished reading an article about falconry.
He suggested the university rename its nickname and mascot, "The
Falcons." He felt the bird was a fierce fighter with speed and courage.
Doc Lake's suggestion of "The Falcons" met with instant general approval
by members of the university. In fact, in 1955 the U.S. Air Force would
also adopt the falcon as their mascot at the academy in Colorado
Freddie Falcon was born in 1950 in the minds of the members of the Alpha
Phi Omega fraternity. The idea was to try and create school spirit at
BGSU athletics events. On January 16, 1950 at the BGSU vs. Ohio
University basketball game Freddie Falcon made his debut appearance
introducing himself to the BGSU community. Under the head created from
papier-mache, a feathered cape and a brown sweat suit outfit was Bob
Taylor, BGSU's first Freddie Falcon.
Frieda first joined Freddie at BGSU on February 26, 1966 as Mrs. Freddie
Falcon. Contrary to what one might think, Mrs. Freddie Falcon was
actually a male cheerleader in disguise. By 1980 Frieda emerged as the
Falcon sidekick we all know today. The first official female Frieda was
played by Sue Sheard during the 1980-81 school year. In order to become
Freddie or Frieda, one must apply in writing, pass a series of
interviews, and be observed in the costume in public. The spirited birds
can be seen rooting for BGSU at football, men's and women's basketball,
hockey and volleyball games. The identity of the actual people who are
chosen as Freddie and Frieda are not revealed until the end of the
basketball and hockey seasons.
Through the years Freddie and Frieda's appearances have changed several
times, perhaps by accident or maybe on purpose. During the Summer of
1950, the old Falcon's Nest (home to Freddie and Frieda) was located in
a log cabin on the current site of the campus union. Apparently, some
hungry mice got into the cabin and devoured Freddie's papier-mache head
right down to the chicken wire frame. The following year, Freddie's head
had a new look. Instead of Papier-mache, he wore something resembling a
rubber chicken mask.
Today, Freddie and Frieda's costumes look similar to other college
mascots' outfits. They are made of fiberglass, paint, and synthetic
brown material to look like feathers. For the last few years however,
BGSU's favorite birds have spiced up their appearances by sporting the
bright orange gloves, tights and even Chuck Taylor basketball shoes to
keep their talons warm in the winter months!
Why Brown & Orange ?
The historical story behind how BGSU began using Brown and Orange as its
school colors dates back to 1914.
Dr. Williams, the university's first President, gathered a group of
people which included a Dr. L. L. Winslow from Industrial Arts as a
selection committee for the school's new colors. While on an interurban
(or trolley) ride to Toledo, Dr. Winslow sat behind a woman wearing a
large hat adorned with beautiful brown and orange feathers. It is
unclear whether or not she ever actually gave him a few of these
feathers from her hat, however, he was so interested in the color scheme
of the pair that he convinced the committee to approve the combination
of Brown and Orange.