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.
Wildcats MascotThe 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 events.
Today, the Wildcat mascot also attends several academic functions as well and generally serves as a friendly ambassador for the University.
Blue and White
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 19, 1891. 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 white.
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