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University of Cincinnati celebrates mascot's 100th birthday

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is marking the 100th anniversary of its mascot.

The 'Bearcat' was born during a football game on Oct. 31, 1914 by a cheerleader encouraging the crowd to get behind fullback Leonard “Teddy” Baehr.

From the University of Cincinnati archives:

Credit University of Cincinnati

Hungry for a win and frustrated that UC was struggling against their interstate foe, team captain and charismatic UC fullback Leonard “Teddy” Baehr (pictured carrying the ball above) was said to have shouted at his teammates to give him the ball. The utterance elicited an excited roar from the crowd and a moment of genius from cheerleader Norman “Pat” Lyon, who followed with a chant: “They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side!” The crowd took up the rallying cry: “Come on, Baehr-cat!”Cincinnati prevailed, 14-7, and the victory was memorialized on the front page of the student newspaper, the weekly University News, on Nov. 3, 1914, when cartoonist John “Paddy” Reece’s drawing (seen here) depicted a bedraggled Kentucky Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled “Cincinnati Bear Cats.”

UC says the association with the Cincinnati Zoo's real-life bearcat, or binturong, dates to the 1930s.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.