History of Rutger's Mascot

Submitted by UMfan21 on November 8th, 2018 at 2:55 PM

I was reading the front page and saw the image of the two elder "cannoneers" waiting for a TD, and I started thinking to myself:  What the hell does a Revolutionary War mascot have to do with the Scarlet Knights?  It led me to a wikipedia search where I found this gem:

Rutgers University's school color is scarlet. Initially, students sought to make orange the school color, citing Rutgers' Dutch heritage and in reference to the Prince of Orange. The Daily Targum first proposed that scarlet be adopted in May 1869, claiming that it was a striking color and because scarlet ribbon was easily obtained. During the first intercollegiate football game with Princeton on November 6, 1869, the players from Rutgers wore scarlet-colored turbans and handkerchiefs to distinguish them as a team from the Princeton players.[3] The Board of Trustees officially made scarlet the school colors in 1900.[3]

In its early days, Rutgers athletes were known informMGoBoardally as "The Scarlet" in reference to the school color, or as "Queensmen" in reference to the institution's first name, Queen's College.[3] In 1925, the mascot was changed to Chanticleer, a fighting rooster from the medieval fable Reynard the Fox (Le Roman de Renart) which was used by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.[3] At the time, the student humour magazine at Rutgers was called Chanticleer, and one of its early arts editors, Ozzie Nelson (later of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet fame) was quarterback of the Rutgers team from 1924 to 1926.[18] The Chanticleer mascot was unveiled at a football game against Lafayette College, in which Lafayette was also introducing a new mascot, a leopard.[18] However, the choice of Chanticleer as a mascot was often the subject of ridicule because of its association with "being chicken."[19] In 1955, the mascot was changed to the Scarlet Knight after a campus-wide election, beating out other contenders such as "Queensmen", the "Scarlet", the "Red Lions", the "Redmen" and the "Flying Dutchmen."[3][20] Earlier proposed nicknames included "Pioneers" and "Cannoneers". When Harvey Harman, then coach of the football team, was asked why he supported changing the Rutgers mascot, he was quoted as saying, "You can call it the Chanticleer, you can call it a fighting cock, you can call it any damn thing you want, but everybody knows it's a chicken."[21] Harman later is said to have bought the first "Scarlet Knight" mascot costume for the 1955 season, which was to be his final season as football coach at Rutgers



November 8th, 2018 at 10:23 PM ^

From the book Rutgers Football A Gridiron Tradition in Scarlet [p. 41]: In 1940, halfback Tom Harmon of Michigan won his second straight scoring title. Harmon topped all college players by totaling 102 points in 1939 and 117 points in 1940. Harmon also won the Heisman Trophy in 1940. (Many years later, Tom Harmon’s daughter, Kristen, would wed singer Rick Nelson, the son of former Rutgers quarterback Ozzie Nelson.)


November 8th, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

our kids named our favorite rooster, a giant rhode island red, "chanticleer" way back when.  he lived to about a thousand chicken years, was as big as a turkey, and very mellow.   he woke up dead about 4 yrs ago and was mourned.  his successors in the hen house have not been so well liked, and none of them have risen to the level to even have a name.