Shortly after the university's inception in 1956, a contest was held that would determine the university's mascot. Among the finalists were the Brahman, the Olympian, the cougar, the buccaneer, and the golden eagle, and the Brahman bull was ultimately selected and unveiled as the mascot on November 17, 1962.
The USF athletics teams were known as the Brahman Bulls until the earlier 1980s, when the name was simplified to the Bulls. At the start of the 2004 football season, the current iteration of the Rocky mascot costume was unveiled.
Rocky won the Capital One Mascot Challenge in 2013, besting Mike the Tiger (LSU), Sparty (Michigan State), and, in the finals, Raider Red (Texas Tech). Rocky is the first mascot to go undefeated in the Capital One Mascot Challenge.