Here's how the Bearcat came to be according to legend and UC's information services.
Kentucky was the fifth game of a nine-game schedule in 1914. Throughout four games in September and October, no one had managed to score against the Red & Black. Kentucky was the first real competition for Coach George Little's squad, and the students were eager for a good game.
At this time, the UC team had no real nickname. The teams were known variously as "Varsity," the "Cincinnati Eleven," the "Red & Black" and the coach's "boys," as in "Dana's Boys" or "Little's Boys." Mascots were uncommon among college football teams back then, and UC had no mascot, although a curious bulldog, clad in a "C" sweater and miniature hat, was depicted throughout the athletic sections of the yearbooks.
A new era was born when Kentucky came to town. The Wildcats were a formidable team and UC was struggling. During the second half of the game, cheerleader Norman "Pat" Lyon, building on the efforts of fullback Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr, created a new chant: "They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side."
The crowd took up the cry: "Come on, Baehr-cat!" Cincinnati prevailed, 14-7, and the victory was memorialized in a cartoon published on the front page of the student newspaper, the weekly University News, for Nov. 3. The cartoon, by John "Paddy" Reece, depicted nine vignettes from the game. Front and center is a bedraggled Kentucky Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled "Cincinnati Bear Cats." Reece was certainly inspired by his editor - the same "Pat" Lyon who led the "Baehr-cat" cheer.
Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr
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