Among the abundance of Bulldogs, Eagles, Tigers, and Lions that represent programs across the college football landscape, the Texas State Bobcats mascot has a somewhat distinctive identity.
Who (or What) Is the Texas State Bobcats Mascot?
A distinctive nickname necessitates a unique mascot, and the history of the Bobcats’ mascot certainly contains some elements that fall under that description. After selecting a team name in 1919, it wasn’t until 1964 that “Boko the Bobcat” acquired his name as the result of a contest among students.
During Boko’s early years as the Bobcats’ mascot, a live bobcat was used. Though the animal did not patrol the sidelines of the San Marcos-based football program, fans could catch a glimpse of the face of their university lounging in his trailer home at games.
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The live mascot was eventually replaced by a costumed mascot, which has undergone many transformations since its inception. The most recent Bobcats mascot upgrade occurred in 2003 to align with the university’s name change. He attends sporting events donned in a complete Texas State uniform concealing his furry skin.
The Texas State website showcases some entertaining (and entirely fabricated) facts about the Bobcats’ mascot, including that his preferred food is catnip, his favorite song is “Eye of the Tiger,” and his hobbies include skydiving, water sports, and female cats. His favorite quote is the Texas State battle cry of “Eat ‘Em Up Cats!”
Why Is Texas State the Bobcats?
Prior to 1919, Texas State had no official mascot. Instead of a unified mascot, each athletic team that represented the program had its own nickname. Those names included the Gypsies, Nymphs, Topsies, Sprites, Wonders, and Goblins.
With the arrival of a new athletic director in 1919 came an opportunity to establish an identity that the entire program could rally behind. A student committee was formed to select a mascot, with C. Spurgeon Smith suggesting a bobcat due to its relevance to the university’s location.
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In addition, the bobcat was renowned for its bravery and fierceness when forced to fight, two attributes consistent with college athletics, particularly football. At that time, no other college had adopted the animal as their mascot, allowing Texas State to acquire the unique identity it desired.
“A Bobcat will fight you with everything he has — four claws, teeth, speed, and brains,” proudly proclaimed athletic director Oscar Strahan when introducing the new mascot to the Texas State students. Even a century later, it remains an almost perfect metaphor for sports competition.
What Was Texas State Originally Called?
Although Texas State has been playing football since 1904, and the university itself first opened in 1903, it wasn’t until relatively recently that it received its official name. In 2013, following its emergence as the fifth-largest university in Texas with a thriving research facility, it adopted its most recent version of the name.
The university originated in 1903 as the Southwest Texas State Normal School. Over the next 100 years, the institution would also be referred to as Normal College and then as Teachers College. Eventually, it transitioned to Southwest Texas State College, and finally, Southwest Texas State University.
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With a change in legislation in 2003, the “Southwest” component of the institution’s name was dropped, and the Bobcats officially became Texas State University-San Marcos — in reference to the university’s location.
Finally, in 2013, the need to identify the university by its location was eliminated, resulting in the program adopting the moniker of Texas State University, which currently participates in the Sun Belt Conference.