A Century of Sic ’Em: Celebrating 100 years as Baylor Bears
One hundred years ago this summer, Baylor was without a mascot. Our sports teams were occasionally called the Bulldogs or the Baptists in newspaper accounts, but they had no official nickname. By the fall of 1914, Baylor students were ready for that to change.
On Oct. 2, 1914, a contest was proposed to come up with a mascot “around which to wreathe the sentiment of the school in poems and songs and yells, and in college customs which add so much to college life.” Little did former student George Baines Rosborough (great-grandson of former Baylor president George W. Baines) know when he uttered those words and offered a $5 gold piece as a prize that we’d be throwing up a “sic ’em” generations later to show our enthusiasm for that contest’s winner.
[READ "The Bears," a detailed history of the Baylor mascot, from the Spring 2014 issue of Baylor Magazine]
Students voted on nearly 24 entries after the contest’s December deadline, and the overwhelming winner was “Bear,” suggested by San Antonio freshman Doyle Thrailkill. Bear earned more than half of the 406 votes, easily beating the second most popular suggestion, the buffalo.
Three years later, Baylor would receive its first live mascot, which appeared at a game for the first time on Nov. 10, 1917, against Texas A&M at the Cotton Palace Grounds. Live bears have been a staple of the Baylor experience since then, appearing not only at games, but also living in local zoos, pens and the bear pit. In the earliest days, they were occasionally even kept chained to trees on campus. Thankfully, the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat represents quite an upgrade from those times.
Joy and Lady are, of course, the latest in a long line of live mascots, and they’ll enjoy the 100th anniversary attention when fans come to campus to cheer on their football-playing counterparts at McLane Stadium. A lot has changed at Baylor in the last 100 years (for that matter, a lot has changed at Baylor in the last few years), but one thing has remained constant for nearly a century now — rather than the Baptists or the Buffaloes or the Bulldogs, we all are united in cheering on, and calling ourselves, the Bears.
Sic ’em, Bears!