Cosmo the Cougar is the official mascot of Brigham Young University's (BYU) athletic teams. He can be seen at many sporting events, wearing the uniform of the team that is playing. In the past, Cosmo's job was a volunteer position, and no scholarship or academic assistance was given. However scholarships and other benefits are offered today. The mascot is expected to be involved in civic events and university functions.

History of CosmoEdit

Before the costumeEdit

BYU cougar Statue

The Cougar, chosen as BYU's mascot by former coach Eugene L. Roberts in the early 1920s, has undergone a tremendous evolution since its inception to become what is now the feline phenomenon known as Cosmo the Cougar.

BYU purchased a pair of cougar cubs for 50 cents each in 1924 to excite BYU fans at athletic events. Live cougars prowled the sidelines of BYU games on a regular basis through the late 1940s and on special occasions through the 1960s.

The original cubs were housed on the south side of campus until 1929 when they managed to break out of their cage, kill two dogs and begin stalking livestock on nearby farms. Both were recaptured later the same day. One Cougar died three weeks later, apparently from natural causes, and the other was taken to the old Salt Lake Zoo. From then on, BYU procured its mascots from nearby zoos and local bounty hunters but never owned its own cougars again.

Cosmo comes to lifeEdit

On October 15, 1953, Cosmo made his first appearance in front of BYU fans. Dwayne Stevenson, the pep chairman of BYU, bought the costume for $73 and persuaded his roommate Daniel T. Gallego to wear it and thus become the first Cosmo. The name Cosmo derives from the word "cosmopolitan" and was chosen because BYU had recently been selected as a Cosmopolitan school. Cosmo became immediately popular, and since Gallego many people have been Cosmo, including BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson, who once put on the costume at a pep rally. Lavell Edwards, the legendary football coach for the Cougars, wore the Cosmo costume during the final season basketball game against Utah in 1981 for the unveiling of that year's Cosmo, B. Larney.(In Dec. the Cougars had beat SMU in the "Miracle Bowl" led by Jim McMahon in San Diego) (The Basketball team led by Danny Ainge went on to the NCAA Tourney and beat UCLA and then Notre Dame in the final seconds.)

Cosmo undergoes cosmetic surgeryEdit

On September 2, 1997, BYU's Athletic Media Relations announced that while hunting Red Tail Hawks (rival Utah's mascot) in Rock Canyon, Cosmo fell 100 feet. Several students saw the fall, however, and fortunately called Utah Valley Search and Rescue, which performed emergency surgery on Cosmo. This included reduction in head size, which allowed Cosmo more range in motion and the ability to perform more daring stunts. Cosmo frequently does flips, walks on stilts, rides motorcycles, and performs slam dunks in order to please the crowd. It was remarked once on ESPN that Cosmo was "probably the most athletic mascot in college basketball."

Cosmo and the mediaEdit

Recently, Cosmo has been the subject of a series of short films, "Cosmo Begins," and "Cosmo: Reloaded," which have been displayed between the third and fourth quarters at home football games. These can be found at the official website. He also recently participated in the Capital One Mascot Bowl and was featured on several commercials that showed on national television.

Cosmo todayEdit

This van includes a 1600-watt, 12-speaker stereo system, a dance stage on top, a basketball hoop, a variety of specialty lights (on the top), a fog machine, several sirens, and a cordless public address system.

Cosmo's workload of performances at more than 130 functions a year necessitates that there be more than one Cosmo at a time. A team of people, Team Cosmo, helps him with his antics. He drives around in the Cosmobile, a van retrofitted for Cosmo's active lifestyle, and also owns a go-cart.

Past CosmosEdit

Over 40 people have been Cosmo over the years Some of them include:

  • Daniel T. Gallego, 1954–55

  • Ray Pope, 1955–56

  • Peggy Herron Mortensen, 1955–56

  • Henry Whiffen, 1956–57

  • Betty Mathie, 1957–58

  • Tamie Kirk Mahnken, 1958–59

  • Neal Blair 1960-61

  • Buddy Youngreen, 1961–62

  • Farrell Lines, 1962–63

  • Ernest Olson, 1966–67

  • John Paxman, 1967–68

  • Christopher D. Dowling, 1970–71

  • John Bennion, 1971–72

  • Kirk Smith, 1972–73

  • Cliff Holley, 1974–75

  • Tom Nibley, 1975–76

  • Michael T. Dowling, 1976–77

  • Jim Daly, 1977–78

  • Kevin Ludlow, 1978–79

  • Matt Love 1979-80

  • B. Larney 1980-81 (Miracle Bowl)

  • Bruce Grode, 1981–82

  • Dave Wright, 1982–83

  • Gary Saunders, 1983–84

  • Marty Burton, 1984–85

  • Scott Bateman, 1985–86

  • Bob Cardon, 1986–87

  • David Broach, 1987–88

  • Paul Thorley, 1988–89

  • C. Bret Pope, 1989–90

  • Jerry Kearns, 1990-1991 (Detmer wins Heisman)

  • G. Craig Randall, 1990-92

  • Richard Dee Lalliss, 1990-92

  • Brent Hales, 1992–93

  • Gary Arbuckle, 1993–94

  • C. Troy Allred, 1994–95

  • Brian Carroll, 1995–96

  • Rich Savage, 1996–97

  • Adrian Dayton, 1997–98

  • Brett Eden, 1998-01

  • Chad Little, 1998–99

  • Chad Payne, 1999-00

  • Aaron McGavock, 1999–2001

  • Ben Westover, 2000–2001

  • Devin Eden, 2001–03

  • Richard C. Summers, 2001–04

  • Jon Orgill, 2002–05

  • Devin Nelson, 2003–06

  • Justin Leavitt 2005-08

  • Andrew Syndergaard 2005-09

  • Keith Allen, 2007–10

  • Stephen Jones ca. 2010

  • Josh Drean, 2008-2011

  • Phillip Hartog, 2009-2011

Cosmo's GalleryEdit