UW students, sports teams, and alumni are called Huskies. The husky was selected as the school mascot by student committee in 1923. It replaced the "Sun Dodger," an abstract reference to the local weather that was quickly dropped in favor of something more tangible. The costumed "Harry the Husky" performs at sporting and special events, and a live Alaskan Malamute, currently named Dubs, has traditionally led the UW football team onto the field at the start of games. The school colors of purple and gold were adopted in 1892 by student vote. The choice was purportedly inspired by the first stanza of Lord Byron's The Destruction of Sennacherib:
The development of the Husky Athletic Village begins with the construction of the new Husky Stadium. Husky Stadium serves as the first and primary income source of a completely remodeled athletic district, which includes a new $20 million Husky Ballpark, a new track and field stadium, renovated soccer stadium, $62 million basketball operations and practice facility, and recently completed projects such as the Husky Legends Center, a state-of-the-art golf training facility, the Dempsey Indoor track and field facility, the Conibear Shellhouse as well as the Alaska Airlines Arena renovation. Along with new facilities, a master plan has been created outlining future and existing space for projects, open space, plantings, parking, as well as a general concept for street and walking grids. All existing and future projects will be set up in a "village"-type atmosphere, where fans and athletes can walk along tree-lined sidewalks from one facility to the next. This major remodel of the athletic village is coinciding with construction for an underground station for a northern extension of the Link Light Rail system, and a planned replacement of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.
The University football team's first game was in 1889.
From 1907 to 1917, Washington football teams were unbeaten in 64 consecutive games, an NCAA Division I-A record. During this period, Washington won 40 games in a row under coach Gil Dobie, currently the second longest winning streak in NCAA Division I-A history. In 1916, Dobie finished his remarkable coaching career at Washington with an undefeated 58-0-3 record.
The 1925 team posted an undefeated record but lost to Alabama 21-20 in the Rose Bowl. The 1960 team finished 10-1, under coach Jim Owens, and won its second consecutive Rose Bowl by defeating national champion Minnesota 17-7 (the national champion was declared before the bowl games in 1960). Coach Owens served from 1957 to 1974. Don James became head coach in 1975 and transformed the team into a national power while compiling a 153-57-2 record. James' first successful year was in 1977 with the team quarterbacked by Warren Moon culminating in a 27-20 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Washington and Michigan played again in the Rose Bowl in 1981 resulting in a Michigan win 23-11. The next year, the Huskies returned to the Rose Bowl and defeated Iowa 28-0, the last Rose Bowl shutout and the only shutout in the past half century. Following a two-year hiatus during which cross-state rival WSU prevented the Huskies from Rose Bowl appearances by defeating them in the last game of the 1982 and 1983 seasons, Washington posted an 11-1 record and beat Oklahoma 28-17 to win the Orange Bowl. Senior running back, Jacque Robinson won the MVP award and was the first player to win MVP awards for both the Orange and Rose Bowls.
The 1991 team is considered to be the best Washington Husky football team and among the best in college football history. The team went undefeated, steamrolling opponents by an average score of 42-9 in regular season, including wins over No. 9 Nebraska, No. 7 California and a 34-14 win over No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. In 2000, Washington finished with an 11-1 record, and won its seventh Rose Bowl under the leadership of Marques Tuiasosopo. In 2009, under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 42-23 victory over Idaho. The following week, Washington crushed the spirits of then-No. 3 USC, winning 16-13 on a last-second field goal. The Huskies rose to No. 25 in the polls after the victory but lost six of their next eight games to fall to 5-7 prior to a season finale showdown against No. 19-ranked California, where the Huskies won 42-10.
Rowing is a longstanding tradition at the University of Washington dating back to 1901. The Washington men's crew won the gold medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, defeating the German and Italian crews.
The rowing programs at the University of Washington are some of the most successful collegiate athletic programs of any type at any university. UW Rowing has won 26 National Titles. In all, the Washington men's crew has won 16 national titles, 15 individual Olympic gold medals, two silver and five bronze. In 2012 and 2013 the men won every event at the National Championships, with 2012 being a year in which each boat set a new course record. The women have 11 national titles and two individual Olympic gold medals.
Founded in 1963, the University of Washington Husky Rugby Club plays college rugby in Division 1 in the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference against local rivals such as Washington State and Oregon. The Huskies won the Northwest championship in 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2005 and the D1AA Varsity Cup in 2014. The Huskies are led by head coach Brian Schoener, who formerly played for the U.S. national rugby team, by former U.S. national team player Kevin Swiryn, and by Director of Rugby Mike Alfstad. The Huskies rugby team is partially funded by an endowment from the alumni association.
The University of Washington Husky Lacrosse Club plays college lacrosse in the Division 1 of the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) against local rivals such as Washington State, Oregon, Oregon St. and Western Washington. The Huskies have made the Pacific Northwest Collegiate Lacrosse League (PNCLL) playoffs 5 of the last 6 years. The Lacrosse team plays their home games on the IMA fields, and are regularly attended and popular amongst UW students; especially when in-state rival, Washington St. comes into town. The Husky's Lacrosse team is funded by annual dues paid by the players, as well as assistance from the IMA, and fundraisers.