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A Look At How UVA’s Mascot Has Changed Over Time



Ugh. Seeing all these mascots has made me think that it just might be easier to change our nickname from the Cavaliers.



by ERIN O’HARE

From the Virginia Magazine


In 1925 “The Cavalier Song,” written in 1923 by then-student Lawrence Haywood Lee Jr., was chosen in a College Topics contest as UVA’s best fight song. The song inspired a moniker for the athletic teams that stuck: The Cavaliers.


A few years later, a caricature of the “Virginia Cavalier” appeared in a Washington Post advertisement. He is moustached and wearing boots, widely cuffed pants, a jacket and long gloves and a feather stuck into a wide-brimmed hat; his sabre is drawn. Since then, the Cavalier mascot’s overall look has remained the same, but some of the details—most notably his facial hair—have evolved. Here are just a few of the many faces of the Cavalier.


1933 An ad in the Washington Post featured this caricature of the Virginia Cavalier fighting a VMI cadet. The ad promised that the results of the Oct. 28, 1933, football game would be printed in the next day’s paper.



1937 Prohibition ended just a few years before the printing of this decal.  The Cavalier has sheathed his sabre in favor of a mint julep.

1947 On a postcard for the 1947 Harvard versus Virginia football game, a Cavalier dressed in head-to-toe blue shakes hands with Harvard’s mascot, a crimson-clad pilgrim.



1960s From the feather in his hat to the trim on his coat, the confident Cavalier on this decal is decidedly showier than his predecessors.



1972 The Cavalier pictured on this button bears a striking resemblance to Warner Brothers cartoon character (and Bugs Bunny nemesis) Yosemite Sam.


1987 The costumed Cavalier—Cavman—debuted during the 1984 football season and remains the official mascot of the Virginia Cavaliers. Both the costume and the features of the large character head have changed many times over the last 30 years.


Undated This undated mascot wears one of the Cavalier’s fancier costumes (check out that lace neck ruffle) and least-friendly facial expressions.




1995 One of a variety of Cavalier bobbleheads made over the last two decades, this one wears a simple costume and a full beard.


1997 While pepping up the crowd at a basketball game,this Cavman looks more “pirate” than “cavalier.”


1997 Same costume, slightly different character head.


1998 This plush Cavman is dressed in the same orange-and blue-striped garb as the late-’80s/early-’90s mascot.


2001 The Cavalier of the early 2000s returned to the striped pants and puffed sleeves of the 1980s.




2006 In the 2000s, the mascot’s suit was changed to a blue-and-orange outfit with the V-sabres logo on the chest.

Present Day Today’s Cavman has a more sculpted, cartoonish face and it looks like he’s been hitting the gym—he’s more muscular than ever.




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