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Bearcats 101


What Is a Bearcat?                         Fight Songs & Cheers                         Rivalries                         Ticketing          

What Is a Bearcat?

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats were born on Oct. 31, 1914. The occasion was a football game with the University of Kentucky, and four key ingredients flowed together to create the enduring and enigmatic mascot:

  • an opposing team nicknamed the "Wildcats." 
  • a star UC player named Baehr. 
  • a creative cheerleader. 
  • a talented cartoonist. 

Although no powerhouse throughout the 1900s (known as the "Oughts") and the nineteen-teens, UC fielded respectable football teams with winning seasons against regional foes in six of the 10 years leading up to the big game. Kentucky was the fifth game of a nine-game schedule in 1914. Throughout four games in September and October, no one had managed to score against the Red & Black. Kentucky was the first real competition for Coach George Little's squad, and the students were eager for a good game.

At this time, the UC team had no real nickname. The teams were known variously as "Varsity," the "Cincinnati Eleven," the "Red & Black" and the coach's "boys," as in "Dana's Boys" or "Little's Boys." Mascots were uncommon among college football teams back then, and UC had no mascot, although a curious bulldog, clad in a "C" sweater and miniature hat, was depicted throughout the athletic sections of the yearbooks.

A new era was born when Kentucky came to town. The Wildcats were a formidable team and UC was struggling. During the second half of the game, cheerleader Norman "Pat" Lyon, building on the efforts of fullback Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr, created a new chant: "They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side."

Cincinnati prevailed, 14-7, and the victory was memorialized Nov. 3 in a cartoon published on the front page of the student newspaper, the weekly University News. The cartoon, by John “Paddy” Reece, depicted nine vignettes from the game. Front and center is a bedraggled Kentucky Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled “Cincinnati Bear Cats.” Reece was certainly inspired by his editor. The same “Pat” Lyon who led the “Baehr-cat” cheer was also the editor of the University News. 


Excerpt from, written by Greg Hand

Fight Songs & Cheers

Alma Mater

O Cincinnati, magic name, I proudly to the world proclaim;
No sweeter word e'er charmed my ear,
None to my heart was e'er so dear,
A fountain of eternal youth, a tower of strength, a rock of truth.

Oh varsity, dear varsity, thy loyal children we will be,
Thy loyal, loyal children we will be.

Of wealth and station some may boast, of wide renown from coast to coast;
None nobler teachings did instill,
Than old McMicken on the hill,
The black and red banner floats on high, let all join in the battle cry.

Oh varsity, dear varsity, thy loyal children we will be,
Thy loyal, loyal children we will be.

Long may she live, her children's pride, and grow and prosper far and wide.
At all times let our motto be: stand first and last for old UC,
We dedicate with might and main, to Alma Mater this refrain:

Oh varsity, dear varsity, thy loyal children we will be,
Thy loyal, loyal children we will be.

    Cheer Cincinnati (The Fight Song)

    Cheer Cincinnati, Cincy will win
    Fight to the finish, never give in (Rah, Rah, Rah)
    You do your best boys, we'll do the rest boys,
    Onward to victory!

    Go Red, Go Black, Go Bearcats! Fight! Fight! Fight!
    (Give me a) B-E-A-R-C-A-T-S Go UC!

    Cheer Cincinnati, Cincy will win
    Fight to the finish, never give in (Rah, Rah, Rah)
    You do your best boys, we'll do the rest boys,
    Onward to victory!

    B-E-A-R-C-A-T-S (Spell it out!)

    B-E-A-R-C-A-T-S (One more time!)

    Down the Drive

    (Call) Hey 'Cats! Where are we going?
    (Answer) Down the Drive!

    (Cadence Begins)

    Hey Cats,
    Let's go UC! (Oh baby)

    (clap, clap, clap, clap) UC!

    Hey Cats, 
    Let's go UC! (Oh baby)

    (clap, clap, clap, clap) UC!
    [Repeat x 3]

    Let's go UC,
    Go 'Cats!

    Down the Stairs

    The band plays this cadence when they arrive at Nippert stadium and rush down the stairs to meet the drumline on the field before every game. This cadence has no known lyrics.

    Red and Black

    The Red and Black shall triumph,
    As we're struggling down the field!
    Oh fight for Cincinnati, McMicken's foes shall yield:
    Remember men, the honor, that hangs upon this game;
    Remember you are battling now for old McMicken's fame!

    Fight, Cincinnati, and show the foe who holds the sway;
    For the Red and Black shall drive them back,
    And win the game today:
    Fight Cincinnati: the victory's ours again,
    The bonfire's light will flare tonight,
    The Red and Black shall reign!

    Give a Cheer

    Come on and give a cheer for dear Old Cincy.
    Lift your voice in praises clear.
    Show you're pulling hard for Cincy,
    School we love and hold so dear.
    Yea Cincy!
    Loyal to our Alma Mater,
    We will ever down the foe,
    Fight! Boys! Fight! The battle is on!
    Yea Bearcats! See us go!

    As the Backs Go Tearing By

    As the backs go tearing by, on their way to do or die;
    Many sighs, many cheers, mingle with Miami’s tears,
    As the backs go tearing by:
    Making gains on steady gains, echoes swell that sweet refrain
    Cincy’s going to win today, Cincy’s sure to win today
    As the backs go tearing by.

    March On, Cincinnati

    When Cin-cin-na-ti’s men go dashing along,
    They're gaining yards on every play,
    There’s not another team so mighty and strong
    Can ever stop us on our way:
    We’ll crush their ends and pound their line till they yield,
    And leave their forwards torn and toss’d;
    While we go smashing, crashing on down the field
    Until the last white line is crossed.

    Source:, UC Magazine


    Xavier Musketeers (Norwood, OH)

    The Bearcats and Musketeers contend in an annual basketball game called the "Crosstown Shootout," thus named because of the mere 3 mile distance between the two universities campuses. The Crosstown Shootout has been described as one of, if not the best rivalries in the game, and ESPN's Jay Bilas was quoted as saying, "Cincinnati and Xavier have created a rivalry that is unparalleled when it comes to outright passion and civic division." This rivalry has no traveling trophy, but the bragging rights are just as sweet. The Bearcats currently lead the Musketeers by more than 15 wins.

    Miami Redhawks (Oxford, OH)

    The Bearcats (or "Varsity" at the time) and RedHawks ("Redskins" in those days) participated in the first college football game played in Ohio. This game ended in a 0-0 tie and sparked the 3rd oldest rivalry in the college football and longest non-conference rivalry in the sport. The winner of the annual football game takes home the "Victory Bell." Miami currently leads the series with just over five victories more than the Bearcats.

    Louisville Cardinals (Louisville, KY)

    The "Keg of Nails" is the traveling trophy that the winner of Bearcat vs. Cardinals football games takes home at every meeting of the teams. The Keg represents Louisville's oldest football rivalry and UC's second oldest. The current keg is actually a replica of the original, which Louisville misplaced during office construction. The replica Keg of Nails also does not contain nails and it is unknown if the original ever did. The Bearcats currently lead the Cardinals in this rivalry by just under ten wins.

    Pittsburgh Panthers (Pittsburgh, PA)

    The "River City Rivalry" (named because both cities sit on the Ohio River) was created when Cincinnati joined the Big East conference in 2005, which the University of Pittsburgh was already a part of. To celebrate the rivalries both cities' professional football and baseball teams had with each other, the River City Rivalry trophy was established between the football teams. Pitt currently leads the rivalry over the Bearcats with an 8-4 record and the two teams won't meet again until 2023.

    Student Ticketing

    At first, the UC student ticketing system may seem a little tough to digest because not only do we have different policies for different sports, but some sports have different policies for different types of tickets, but with this guide, you'll be an expert in no time!


    Student tickets to football events follow two models. Either way, tickets can be claimed in person on the 4th floor of the Richard E. Lindner Athletic Center or online at under the Students tab. The options and their notes are listed below:

    • Purchase a Student Season Ticket Packet (RallyCats' recommended method)
      • One time fee for a ticket to every Bearcats home game of the season, including the conference championship if played in Nippert Stadium
      • Allows student to load tickets onto their mobile phone
      • Can be purchased by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX
      • Allows student to purchase up to 2 Guest Tickets for every game or for the entire season. This allows parents, siblings, etc. to sit in the Student section.
    • Claim tickets individually for each game
      • Allows students to obtain tickets for each game for free
      • Tickets are released 10 days before gameday through the ticket office, both in person and online
      • Tickets go quickly, so get there early!
      • There is a fee for every ticket if they are claimed online.
      • Student Guest tickets can be purchased on a game-by-game basis.

    *Incoming freshmen or transfer students cannot purchase Student Season Ticket Packets online, it must be done in person at the Lindner Athletic Center or on the phone at 1-877-CATS-TIX.

    Men's Basketball

    Student ticketing for Basketball is a simple system. Tickets are released in "blocks," each block contains all of the tickets for every home game in a month's time spanning from the day of block release to the next block release. Blocks are released on the 15th day of each month. For example, if there are 9 home games between January 15th and February 15th, there will be 9 tickets in the January block. Block tickets can be claimed at the ticket office on the 4th Floor of the Richard E. Lindner Athletic Center or online at in the Students tab.

    Olympic Sports

    Admission to all Olympic Sporting events are free to students. Students simply need to show their Bearcat Card (student ID) at the gate for entry. "Olympic sports" includes any sport that is not Football or Men's Basketball.