BEFORE BUCCANEERS A History of the Beloit College Mascot


Beloit's first nickname dates back to the year of the college's first athletic competitions, 1889. Late that year, with the football team's debut against UW-Madison looming, nearly the entire student body met with one goal, to find a way to distinguish itself from other institutions. Up to that point, Beloit carried two shades of blue and no mascot. During the meeting on December 14, a motion to move to a single shade of blue was quickly dismissed. Then, a junior offered up their class color, GOLD. With no other college thought to carry this color at the time, the decision was made and Beloit would head into their debut as The Gold. The nickname was cemented in its place in history that afternoon as The Roundtable, Beloit College's student newspaper, would depict a week later with a headline that read: "The 'Gold' wins - Beloit 4, Madison 0."

Gold became Beloit College's official color on March 21, 1890. The hue still remains a staple of Beloit College to this day.

The blue devils

The archives show that in the mid-1920s, Beloit College adopted the moniker of the Blue Devils. Little history is known about where the nickname came from, how it was adopted, or even how long it officially lasted. However, it is clear through photos and yearbooks that Beloit's athletic teams did use the nickname for some time between the 1920s and 1940s.

Still, the 'Gold' remained. Even with the new nickname, the 'Gold' never disappeared. Despite changes the hue, gold in some shade, still remains. The story of the addition of blue or navy, however, is lost to history.


In 1949, Beloit College was ready for a change. Joe Kobylka '51 reminisced in a piece published in the Beloit College Magazine about a renaming contest that took place at a basketball game in 1949. At that event, a vote was held where students could choose from three alternatives to the 'Gold', the Bobcats, the Braves, or the Bulldogs.

Two seniors, Jim Duffy, former ABC-TV president, and Jack Harr, former advisor to the Rockefeller family, used their positions in the college's publicity office to successfully campaign for Buccaneers as a write-in.

History was made at that game in 1949 and here we are, 71 years later, still proudly hailing as the Buccaneers.

the logo

In the late 1970s, football coach and athletic director Ed DeGeorge selected a new logo out of a catalog that featured a number of Buccaneer logos. The logo he selected, pictured here, remained unquestioned until 1996.

That year, Beloit College became entangled in a trademark dispute with the National Football League regarding the Buccaneer logo. College President Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. received word from a NFL lawyer that Beloit's pirate logo too closely resembled that of Tampa Bay's which could lead some to mistakenly believe that Beloit College was part of the National Football League.

The two logos did, in fact, closely resemble each other. The sole difference, with exception to the colors, is that the image is flipped with the feather pointing the opposite direction.

Ferrall refused to give up the logo and notably joked that the two teams should compete for the rights to the Buccaneer.

The NFL never filed an official suit against the college and went on to change their logo to a skull and crossbones in the late 1990s.

The pirate logo remains, as does the Buccaneer nickname at Beloit College, and the 'B' logo that has been used since the college's earliest days is still used alongside it. The 'B' has gone through a number of changes over the years including slight changes to its hue but the gold remains, a connection to Beloit College's storied athletic history.