Why Wildcats

The story of how Weber State University chose its mascot is surrounded in a bit of mystery. There was never an official declaration naming the wildcat as the school's mascot; rather, the information is anecdotal. Prior to the mid-1920s, there was never a documented reference to the Weber Wildcats.

The 1928 issue of the Acorn, the school yearbook, refers to a member of the football team, Wallace F. (Wally) Morris, who played for Coach Merlin Stephenson. Morris told his children that one day during a tough, hard practice, one of the other players said he played like a pussycat. Hearing the remark, Stewart "Monk" Holliday, the team captain, looked up and yelled back, "He's no pussy-cat, he's a wildcat!" And from that day on Wally Morris was known only as "Wildcat" Morris."Wildcat" Morris was later inducted into the Weber State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

In those days, the Weber College athletic teams were called "Weberites." But as the football team continued to refer to "Wildcat" Morris, Al Warden, a sportswriter for the local newspaper, wrote in an article that the Weber College football players were as "scrappy as a bunch of wildcats," and the name stuck from that time on.  

Weber College's President Aaron Tracy was opposed to the name. Tracy was a man of high morals, and records indicate he didn't think the students should be likened to a bunch of wildcats. He thought the name was demeaning. Tracy wondered why they didn't come up with a more noble symbol--like a lion. 

But the short-tailed cats from the lynx family were native to the area's Wasatch Mountains, drawing fur trappers long before the Mormon pioneers arrived. Bobcats, or bob-tailed cats, were sometimes called wildcats, and the alliteration of "Weber Wildcats" and "Waldo the Wildcat" flowed easily off the tongue.

For many years, the students kept a live wildcat to display at football games. The animal, unhappy at being kept in a cage, ended its career as a mascot when it bit a cheerleader named Judy Freeman on the nose. 

The mascot has evolved over the years and is now represented in a logo used to represent the aggressive spirit of our intercollegiate sports teams, both men's and women's. The wildcat is used on uniforms, signage, athletics stationery, publications and promotions.