UNH Mascots

baseball jacket
1939 UNH hockey players

History of UNH Mascot

For several weeks, lively debates were conducted through The New Hampshire, the student newspaper, on the merits of the contenders for the official UNH mascot. Entrants included the Durham Bulls (a named already used by the local press for the varsity hockey team), huskies, eagles, and even a unicorn.

When the votes were tallied on February 4, 1926, the majority of students believed that the speed, litheness, cunning, and resourcefulness of the wildcat were attributes found in UNH athletic teams. In practical New Hampshire, some may have been persuaded that a wildcat could be "more easily transported from place to place than a bull."

Once the Wildcat was chosen as the mascot for UNH, its likeness began to appear on athletic uniforms, posters and publications. The face of a snarling wildcat appeared first on the warm-up jacket of the 1929 baseball team. In 1939, the varsity hockey team added the cat logo to their team jersey.

Evolution of the Wildcat Logo

1935 wildcat logo


1993 Wildcat logo


2000 Wildcat logo


UNH Wildcat Sculpture

The Wildcat Sculpture
Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services

The Wildcat sculpture is a bronze statue located on the street side of Memorial Field. It was unveiled during the 2006 Homecoming Weekend.

It is the first piece of commissioned artwork on the UNH campus. The $160,000 project was funded entirely with private gifts, including support from the Edward '42H and Selma '42 Bacon Simon Fund, many alumni donors, the Alumni Association, and the UNH Parents Association.

The Artist

The sculpture was created by Matthew Gray Palmer, of Friday Harbor, Washington. Chosen by a committee of UNH staff and faculty, alumni, and parents, as well as professional artists, Palmer was among 40 artists who submitted proposals for the project.

Palmer, who specializes in large public works of art, hopes his 850-pound creation will not only touch people, but be touched by them, literally. "The public work I do gets an artistic expression out where people can touch it, feel the patterns, put their arms around it."

Wildcat Cheer

(done responsively)

Cheer leader: Give me a "W"!
Crowd: "W"!
Cheer leader: Give me an "I"!
Crowd: "I"
(and so on throughout the letters of the word WILDCATS)
Cheer leader: What have you got?


Real Bad Wildcat

I'm just a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, the coolest cat you ever saw.
I'm just a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, I'll fight 'em one and all.
Let me at your big ones, let me at your small, bring along your heavies and
We'll really have a ball.
For I'm a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, the coolest cat you ever saw.
Dig the crazy huskies, dig the crazy bears, dig the crazy rambling rams,
Catamounts I swallow, Redmen I eat whole, but when that pigskin's
In the air, I really rock and roll.
I'm just a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, the coolest cat you ever saw.
I'm just a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, I'll fight 'em one and all.
Let me at your big ones, let me at your small, bring along your heavies and
We'll really have a ball.
I'm just a real bad, a real bad Wildcat, the coolest cat you ever saw.


Go Cats Go

Go, go, go Cats!
Fight, fight, fight Cats!
Go Cats, fight Cats!


Wildcat Locomotive

W-I-L-D-C-A-T-S rah, rah, rah
W-I-L-D-C-A-T-S rah, rah, rah
W-I-L-D-C-A-T-S rah, rah, rah


I Am a Wildcat

I am a Wildcat, you are one too.
I am the best one
Because I'm bigger than you.
My bite is bigger.
Your teeth are strong.
Don't fight me Wildcat,
And we'll get along.

Freshman Orientation Handbook, 1951

Maizie Wildcat Mascot Exhibit

Maizie, 1927-29

A few months after the wildcat had been selected as the UNH mascot, some students heard an adult wildcat had been captured by a farmer in Meredith, NH. The Blue Key, a senior honor society, took up a collection from the student body. Three students were soon dispatched to purchase the cat.

The cat, whom they named Maizie, made her debut at the 1927 homecoming game. Maizie was exhibited at all home games, but people were warned to stay well away from her cage for their own safety. After the football season, she was placed under the care of Benson's Animal Farm in Hudson, NH, where she died during the winter of 1929.

The Blue Key had her body stuffed and mounted. Maizie now resides in the Milne Special Collections and Archives in Dimond Library.

Skippy Wildcat Mascot Exhibit

Skippy, 1932-33

The second wildcat, originally named Bozo, was purchased from Benson's Animal Farm in 1932. The students agreed to rename the cat for the first player to score a touchdown for NH. That honor went to Robert Haphey '35 and the cat was called by his nickname, Skippy.

Skippy disappeared in the spring of 1933. The students never discovered what happened to him.

Butch Wildcat Mascot

Butch I, 1934

The third wildcat, bought in 1934, was again to be named for the first man to score for New Hampshire in the Maine game. The first score was a field goal, so there was some dispute as to whether the wildcat should be named Henry, for the man who kicked the field goal, or Charles, for the man who made the first touchdown.

The Blue Key proposed a compromise by naming it "Butch," after popular Head Coach William Cowell. Every live wildcat thereafter was called Butch.

Butch, A Wildcat Mascot in a cage

Butch II, 1939-40

Butch II was the only mascot to suffer the indignity of being kidnapped by a rival college. In 1939, a week before a game against Harvard, the cat was discovered missing from his cage behind the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house. Both Tufts (which had just lost to UNH) and Harvard were considered likely culprits, but searches for the cat in Boston and Cambridge came up empty.

Three days later, an insurance salesman was surprised to discover a wildcat inside a small carrying box abandoned in his garage in Woburn, MA. The cat was hungry and thirsty but otherwise unharmed.

Despite the fact that in large letters on top of the cage was written "HARVARD-60, N.H.-0," Harvard denied any involvement, stating that they had enough cats at Harvard already without adding a wild one to the collection.

The Blue Key held various fundraisers to help defray the cost of keeping the wildcats and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity took charge of their daily care and training.

With moderate success, the cats were controlled on the field with a chain leash and a stick, but none of the wildcats ever got used to the noise from the crowd or the band. The sight of the cringing, frightened animal was more distressing than inspiring to some of the football fans. Once the football season ended, the animals were boarded at Benson's or another local zoo.

Butch III, 1940

The last live wildcat, purchased in 1940, lived on campus for only a week before it died. The Blue Key vowed to replace it, but instead they took to heart the words from 'A Student' who wrote, "the well-intentioned persistence of Blue Key in attempting to keep a mascot not susceptible to domestication seems to many of us, in view of the net results, very unwise."

Wildcat Mascot named Fudge, 1970

Fudge, 1970

In 1970, the tradition of displaying a live wildcat at athletic events was briefly revived. Jackson Chick of Somersworth, NH, bought a six-week old wildcat kitten in Texas while making a film on the life of a wildcat.

The cat, named Fudge by a granddaughter, was raised by his family and became tame towards humans. (The family had him declawed to spare the furniture and drapes). Although not an alumnus, Chick was an avid UNH fan and offered to bring his pet wildcat to campus to serve as the mascot.

Fudge made the sideline rounds for only one football season. Like its predecessors, it never got used to the size and noise of the crowds.

The origins of this wildcat that was displayed in the trophy case in the Field House for many years remains a mystery. There is no mention in university records of any wildcat, other than Maizie, being preserved after its death.

taxidermy mount of a wildcat
student athletes with trophy case

wildcat mascot at game


1976 wildcat mascot on ice skates


1983 wildcat mascot with child on the field


The first official Wildcat costume made its debut at a Dartmouth football game in the fall of 1968. The appearance of the mascot was a complete surprise to almost everyone, including the players and cheerleaders.

The idea of a mascot was conjured by the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity during a discussion of service projects for the University. Andy Mooradian, UNH athletic director, responded enthusiastically.

The fraternity guaranteed to fill the costume for all the football, basketball and hockey games. Bob St. Cyr, a senior zoology major from Manchester, wore the costume for all football games. According to St. Cyr, the purpose of the mascot is to "keep up the spirit of the team, cheerleaders, and fans."

There have been a number of Wildcat costumes over the years. The ones shown below are dated with the years they appeared in the Granite.

Pep Cat—as the cheerleaders were then called—Lynda Brearey ’66 created a Wildcat costume during a losing year to boost morale. Perhaps her handy work inspired Alpha Phi Omega just two years later.

In 2000, the athletic department created a more fierce Wildcat logo to represent the varsity teams. They also commissioned a friendlier logo, called Wild E. Cat, for use with the children's programs. A 6-foot Wildcat costume was then designed from the logo.


1974 Wildcat mascot


1991 wildcat mascot with women at a game


1995 wildcat mascot



Wild E. Cat 2000


Appearance requests for Wild E. Cat became so numerous that a second costume was needed. Rather than use the same costume design, a more athletic, muscular looking character was created. The name Gnarlz—pronounced "narlz"—was selected from the more than 50 suggestions received by the athletic department in an online poll. The new cat made its first appearance during the September 20, 2008 football game.

Wild E. Cat Logo, 2000

Wild E. Cat Logo, 2000

UNH Athletics mascot, Gnarlz, 2008

Gnarlz, 2008

Wild E. Cat UNH Msscot

Wild E. Cat Costume, 2000