HOME ~ College Football History
The Wildcat mascot originated during the 1976-77 academic year at UK.
Gary Tanner was the original Wildcat, dancing and entertaining thousands
of UK fans at Commonwealth Stadium and Rupp Arena during athletics
A few years later, he was joined by another Cat - walking on stilts -
who made his appearance during UK's twin tower era of
Melvin Turpin and
Sam Bowie. Even today, the original mascot is joined by Scratch, who's a
more child-friendly mascot and serves as the host of UK's official Kids
Today, both mascots attend each football and basketball game, several
academic functions and generally serve as friendly ambassadors for the
In January 2003, Scratch placed seventh in the Universal Cheer
Association College Mascot National Championships. Just a few months
later, it was announced that he was named to the Capital One All-America
The official nickname for the University of Kentucky's athletics teams
is "Wildcats." The nickname became synonymous with UK shortly after a
6-2 football victory over Illinois on Oct. 9, 1909, on the road.
Commandant Carbusier, then head of the military department at old State
University, told a group of students in a chapel service following the
game that the Kentucky football team had "fought like Wildcats."
Later the name Wildcats became more and more popular among UK followers
as well as with members of the media. As a result, the nickname was
adopted by the University.
The University of Kentucky adopted blue and white as its official colors
in 1892. Originally, however, UK students had decided on blue and light
yellow prior to the Kentucky-Centre College football game on December
The shade of blue, which is close to a royal blue, was chosen when a
student asked the question, "What color blue?" At the time, Richard C.
Stoll (who lettered in football at UK in 1889-94) pulled off his necktie
and held it up. The students then adopted that particular shade of blue.
A year later, UK students officially dropped the light yellow color for