Kentucky Traditions



Picture yourself sitting in a stadium or arena with fans clad in blue and white outfits raucously cheering for their beloved Wildcats. Unmistakably, you are watching one of the University of Kentucky’s athletic teams. Let’s examine the origin of the blue and white colors and the wildcat nickname.

Some Kentucky students in 1891 originally believed the school colors should have been blue and light yellow. However, blue and white became the official colors in 1892. The story goes that a student one day that year asked what shade of blue should serve as the official color and without hesitation football player Richard C. Stoll took off his necktie and held it up. Royal blue has been one of the school’s colors ever since.

The wildcat nickname has an interesting tale tied to it. Commander Philip Carbusier, head of the military department at the school in 1909, witnessed Kentucky’s 6-2 victory over the University of Illinois in Illinois in October. Later, in a chapel service, he told a group of students that the football team “fought like wildcats.” In subsequent years, as the name became more and more popular with Kentucky fans and the media, the university officially adopted the nickname.

The Wildcat moniker and the blue and white colors are synonymous with one of the great institutions of the Southeastern Conference, the University of Kentucky. Cheers to Mr. Stoll and Commander Carbusier!


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