Among the plethora of Bulldogs, Eagles, Tigers, and Lions that represent programs across the college football landscape, the Texas State Bobcats mascot has a somewhat unique identity.
Who (or What) Is the Texas State Bobcats Mascot?
A unique nickname requires a unique mascot, and the history of the Bobcats’ mascot certainly contains some elements that fall under that description. After deciding upon a team name in 1919, it wasn’t until 1964 that “Boko the Bobcat” got his name as the result of a contest among students.
Early in Boko’s tenure as the Bobcats’ mascot, a live bobcat was used. Although the animal didn’t patrol the sidelines of the San Marcos-based football program, fans could see the face of their university lounging in his trailer home at games.
The live mascot was replaced by a costumed mascot, which has seen many transformations since its inception. The most recent Bobcats mascot upgrade came in 2003 to coincide with the university’s change of name. He attends sports events complete in a full Texas State uniform cloaking his furry skin.
The Texas State website lists some fun (and 100% made up) facts about the Bobcats’ mascot, including that his favorite food is cat nip, his favorite song is “Eye of the Tiger,” and his hobbies include sky diving, 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. Rather than a unified mascot, each athletic team that represented the program has its own nickname. Those names included the Gypsies, Nymphs, Topsies, Sprites, Wonders, and Goblins.
With the introduction of a new athletic director in 1919 came an opportunity to form an identity that the whole program could get behind. A student committee was formed to decide on a mascot, with C. Spurgeon Smith suggesting a bobcat due to its relevance to the location of the university.
Additionally, the bobcat was well known for its courage and ferociousness when forced to fight, two characteristics consistent with college athletics and football in particular. At the time, no other college used the animal as their mascot, allowing for the unique identity that Texas State had craved.
“A Bobcat will fight you with everything he has — four claws, teeth, speed, and brains,” athletic director Oscar Strahan proudly announced as he introduced the new mascot to the Texas State students. Even 100 years later, it’s the almost perfect metaphor for sports competition.
What Was Texas State Originally Called?
Although Texas State has played football since 1904, and the university itself first opened in 1903, it wasn’t until relatively recently that it was officially named. In 2013, following its emergence as the fifth-largest university in Texas with a thriving research facility, it adopted the most recent edition of its name.
The university began life in 1903 as the Southwest Texas State Normal School. Over the next 100 years, the program would also be known as Normal College and then as Teachers College. Eventually, it would transition to being known as Southwest Texas State College, and, ultimately, Southwest Texas State University.
With a change in legislature in 2003, the “Southwest” element of the program’s name was removed, and the Bobcats officially became Texas State University-San Marcos — in reference to the university location.
Finally, in 2013, the need to identify the university by its location was removed, leaving the program with the Texas State University moniker that participates in the Sun Belt Conference today.