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Little History of the Florida Gator Mascot

Discussion in 'RayGator's Swamp Gas' started by thatguy, Apr 23, 2021.

  1. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  2. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  3. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  4. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  5. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  6. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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    Unlike most schools, Florida did not adopt the Gator as its mascot by a school vote, or by the suggestion of the coach or faculty member. Instead, the Gator was chose by the Miller family, of Gainesville, Fla. Phillip Miller, who owned a store in Gainesville visited his son, Austin in Charlottesville, Va., where Austin was a law student at the University of Virginia.

    During the visit, the Millers went to the Michie Company to purchase some pennants and banners for their Gainesville store. They were shown examples of colleges with mascots, to determine which design he wanted to sell and when asked what the mascot was for Florida, they realized at the time the school did not have one.

    Austin, who was not even enrolled at UF decided that the Gator would be a good choice, as it was a native of Florida and no other school had it as a mascot. He then found some photos of gators in the University of Virginia Library and provided them to the Michie Company, as the manager admitted he had never seen an alligator before. I mean, I get it was 1908, but how could you have never seen even a picture of an alligator before?

    Phillip then returned to Gainesville with pennants and banners to sell in his shop with gators in a variety of poses. The pennants and banners came in the Florida school colors of blue and orange and it was rumored to be the first appearance of the alligator as the school logo. The school’s football team began using the Gator nickname in 1911.

    Why Your Mascot Sucks: University of Florida Gators
     
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  7. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  8. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  9. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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    The first live alligator, Albert, came to UF in 1957. Several different live alligators assumed the role of Albert over the years, and even a robotic, motorized reptile held the role. It wasn't until 1970 that Albert became personified on the field as a full-body vinyl costume. Alberta the Alligator was introduced in 1986 as Albert's sidekick and friend. Together, the two of them embody the typical Gator fan- loyal, proud, and spirited about the University of Florida. Today, Albert and Alberta can be seen around the world on clothes, cars, and even on television. They have come to represent one of the finest universities in the world, and are symbols of the entire Gator Nation. Go Gators!
     
  10. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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  11. UF24ou14

    UF24ou14 GC Hall of Fame

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    The one from 1963 is from the comic strip "Pogo", by Walt Kelly.
     
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  12. 92gator

    92gator GC Hall of Fame

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    Best mascot/nickname ever!

    (In my unbiased, objective, professional, expert opinion in these matters...).
     
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  13. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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    You beat me to it
    Loved me so Pogo
     
  14. mkfgator

    mkfgator GC Legend

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    Awesome thank you for this great post
     
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  15. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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    The 1911 Florida Alligators
    Captain Neal "Bo Gator" Storter is pictured in the center with the football.

    The 1911 football team was the first University of Florida varsity team called the Alligators. (The diminutive form, Gators, was also used that year, but it did not become the recognized nickname until after World War I.) Fittingly, every player on the 1911 team was a Floridian, and it is the only squad in Gator football history to finish a season undefeated. The team started the season, without a name, by beating The Citadel at home on October 7. The victory was excellent preparation for the next two games: a difficult road trip to South Carolina that pitted Florida against the larger squads of Clemson and USC.

    Precisely when and how the team was named is unclear, but several accounts identify the South Carolina excursion as the beginning of the Florida Gators. "It was on the South Carolina trip that the Florida team was dubbed the ‘Alligators,’ and the battle that took place . . .between the Clemson Tigers and the Florida Alligators is one long to be remembered!" declared the Florida Pennant, predecessor to the Alligator, in its December football issue. The earliest printed references to the team as the Alligators occurred on October 20th in both the South Carolina and Florida newspapers. "Gamecocks clash with Alligators" was the headline in The State, South Carolina’s leading newspaper. In his daily sports column for the Florida Times-Union, Laurence "Kiddo" Woltz reported that the team had passed through Jacksonville on its way to Columbia. "This is probably the ‘biggest trip’ ever taken by an eleven from any of the Florida colleges and thousands of people throughout the state will await the result of the games with the greatest of interest. May the ‘Gators’ win ‘em both."

    The game at Columbia on October 21st resulted in a tie. Halfback Earle "Dummy" Taylor scored for Florida in the first quarter and South Carolina matched Florida in the second quarter. The remainder of the game was a defensive battle. For the first time in Florida history, the Associated Press gave the results of a Florida football game and the new nickname was spread across the nation. "The Florida team’s brilliant showing is creating considerable talk in local college circles and it is figured that the ‘Alligators’ must be reckoned with in future year," the AP declared.

    Playing on "foreign soil," Florida’s press claimed a "virtual victory." Next, the Florida team traveled to Clemson and the "dope" had the Gators as fifteen point underdogs. Clemson scored a touchdown early in the game, missed the extra point, and failed to score on subsequent drives. With eight minutes left in the game, Taylor made a spectacular 35 yard run into the Tigers’ end zone and kicked the point-after. The score remained 6-5, Florida victorious. The rest of the season was anti-climactic. After beating the South Carolina champions, Florida won the state championship with victories over Stetson and Columbia College. The last game of the season was a 21 to 0 pasting of the College of Charleston on Thanksgiving Day in Jacksonville.

    1911
     
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  16. thatguy

    thatguy Moderator VIP Member

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    Several explanations for the nickname have been offered over the years. In 1948, the son of a Gainesville merchant whose soda fountain was a popular student hangout in the early 1900s claimed that alligators appeared on pennants sold at his father's store as early as 1908 and, eventually, the name took hold. This story became the unofficial explanation for the nickname despite two claims that the team was named after the captain and center of the 1911 football squad, Neal "Bo Gator" Storter. Storter, however, denied the claim and attributed the nickname to a newspaper article describing a Florida road trip as an invasion of alligators.

    Historical evidence supports the argument that Storter was the source of the nickname. Storter was the leader, the Chief Bo Gator to be precise, of the Bo Gator Club. More fictional than real, the exploits of the Bo Gators are chronicled in several student publications in the years 1907-1910. More than any other student group in its day, the Bo Gators typified the early Florida students. It would be logical to suggest that the origins of the nickname lie in this fugitive student organization whose leader was, by chance, the captain of the football team.

    1911
     
  17. malscott

    malscott Premium Member

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    Thanks 'That Guy' Good Lord, quite the historical collection and compilation!:eek:

    Go Gators.;)
     
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  18. 4everaGator

    4everaGator GC Hall of Fame

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    LSU could have chosen the alligator as well but they went with tigers in 1890, apparently derived from the military prowess of a Louisiana regiment*. We are somewhat fortunate that the gator was still available when Florida adapted it. I love our mascot for it's uniqueness and because most people are afraid of alligators.

    * LSU has no plans to change its mascot despite online petition
     
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  19. ThomasD89

    ThomasD89 All American

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    From the linked article:

    "...their costume designs hold true to their real life reptilian brothers and sisters.

    Their green bodies feature scales that cover their backs and their faces feature the alligator’s signature teeth. Their overall design is spot on..."

    Yep, spot on. Other than that, as every actual Floridian knows, real alligators are black, not green.
     
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