Western Carolina’s Catamount Has a New Look

By Kaitlyn Mullis

Staff Writer

The changing of the new mascot logo for Western Carolina University has been one received with mixed feelings.

The Catamount that recent students and faculty have grown accustomed to has been done away with, and the new logo was unveiled on Aug. 13, the 75th anniversary that the mascot was first chosen.

Many people have asked the reason for the change in the new logo. Chancellor John Bardo said at the logo’s unveiling it was a decision based on better representing the Western Carolina mascot to local heritage.

“We believe our new look better reflects the strength and agility of the native mountain cats of Western North Carolina,” Chancellor John Bardo said.

Another reason for the change was to better represent the aggressive stance that the university takes on their academic and athletic pride.

Chip Smith, director of Western Carolina University athletics, said on Aug. 13 that the designing company, Ohio-based Rickabaugh Graphics, did an excellent job with the design.

“We have been able to use elements and colors from the early years of the Catamount image and blend them into something new. It is aggressive enough to send a message and is a very distinct look.”

Along with the new mascot logo, the school is also returning to their old colors. Recently, the purple and gold have taken on a bright shade. Western Carolina athletes will now be wearing the colors of deeper and more classic purple and gold.

Since 1933, the logo has changed over fourteen times and, since 1975, the WCU Catamount has taken on five different arrangements.

The longest that the mascot has carried the same graphic was during the sixteen-year period that included the 1983 appearance by the football team in the NCAA Division I-AA Football National Championship, eight NCAA baseball regional championship showings, and the successful 1996 men’s basketball season.

“I think it looks too cartoonish,” said Stacy Carter, an RA in Buchanan Residence Hall, about the new logo. “It’s not realistic compared to the old logo.”

Larry Crawford, a junior, expressed a positive and a negative opinion for the new logo.

“I like the design on the T-shirts, and I like how they’re trying to build a national name for Western Carolina University, but I don’t like the logo of the full body catamount overlooking North Carolina.”

Other people who were asked to give an opinion were not sure they had one. The replies were mostly “It’s okay” or “I don’t really have an opinion on the logo”.

Despite what some may think about the new logo though, superstition could change the way people feel.

The new look for Western Carolina has already carried the football team that bears its logo on their uniform to a season-opening win at home against Shorter College. If the success continues on the gridiron, as well as in the classroom and in all aspects of the university, the new logo may be here to stay for a long time.