Archive for Friday, September 13, 1996


September 13, 1996


College mascots are believed to bring good luck, especially to athletic teams.

Kansas University is home of a mythical bird -- the Jayhawk. The name combines two birds: A noisy, quarrelsome blue jay and a stealthy, cunning sparrow hawk.

In 1886, the bird appeared in a cheer -- KU's famous Rock Chalk chant. When the university's football players first took the field in 1890, it seemed natural to call them Jayhawkers.

Henry Maloy, a cartoonist for the student newspaper, drew a memorable version of the Jayhawk in 1912.

He gave it shoes. Why? For kicking opponents -- especially those pesky K-Staters.

In 1920, a more somber bird, perched on a KU monogram, came into use. Jimmy O'Bryon and George Hollingbery designed a duck-like Jayhawk three years later.

About 1929, Forrest Calvin drew a grim-faced bird sporting talons that could maim.

In 1941, Gene "Yogi" Williams opened the Jayhawk's eyes and beak, giving it a contentious look.

Yet, it's Harold Sandy's design of a smiling Jayhawk that survives half a century after it was created. The Happy Hawk design was copyrighted in 1947.

KU acquired Sandy's design from the KU Bookstore and obtained a federal trademark in 1978. It has generated millions of dollars in royalties, which support athletic and academic scholarships at the university.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.