Cosmo the Cougar

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Cosmo participating at a BYU Fan Fest in 2018
UniversityBrigham Young University
ConferenceBig 12 Conference
DescriptionAnthropomorphic cougar
Origin of nameBYU’s mascot got its name after BYU was named a “cosmopolitan” school in 1953.
First seenOctober 15, 1953

Cosmo is the official mascot of Brigham Young University's (BYU) athletic teams. He can be seen at almost all 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.

Cosmo was named the Mascot "National Champion" in the SXM College's Twitter poll in April 2020.[1]

History of Cosmo[edit]

Before the costume[edit]

This cougar was donated by the class of 1965 and stands outside LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Cosmo comes to life[edit]

On October 15, 1953, Cosmo made his first appearance in front of BYU fans.[2] 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.[3] 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.[3]

Cosmo undergoes cosmetic surgery[edit]

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 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 today[edit]

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 450 functions a year necessitates that there be more than one Cosmo at a time.[4] A team of people, Team Cosmo, helps him with his antics.[5] He drives around in the Cosmobile, a van retrofitted for Cosmo's active lifestyle, and also owns a go-cart. In 2020, Cosmo won the Sirius XM Mascot Bracket Championship and was named National Champion of Mascots.[6][7]

Cosmo at the 2006 Fourth of July parade in Provo

In popular culture[edit]

In 2012 Cosmo has been the subject of a series of short films,[2] "Cosmo Begins," and "Cosmo: Reloaded," which have been displayed between the third and fourth quarters at home football games.[8] He also participated in the Capital One Mascot Bowl and was featured on several commercials that showed on national television.[9]

Past Cosmos[edit]

Over 70 people have been Cosmo over the years. Some of them include:

  • Daniel T. Gallego, 1953–54[2]
  • Clive Moon, 1954–55[2]
  • Ray Pope, 1955–56[2]
  • Peggy Herron Mortensen, 1955–56[2]
  • Daniel T. Gallego, 1959–60[2]
  • Roy Spradley, 1960–61[2]
  • Buddy Youngreen, 1961–62[2]
  • John Bennion, 1971–72
  • Michael T. Dowling, 1976–77[2]
  • Jim Daly, 1977–78[2]
  • Dave Wright, 1982–83[2]
  • Scott Bateman, 1985–86[2]
  • David Broach, 1987–88
  • Paul Thorley, 1988–89[2]
  • Bret Pope, 1989–90 [2]
  • Jerry Kearns, 1990-91; Michael Porter, 1990–91[2]
  • G. Craig Randall, 1990–92[10]
  • Richard Dee Lalliss, 1990–92[10]
  • Brent Hales, 1992–93 [2]
  • Gary R. Arbuckle Jr., 1993–94 [2]
  • Cameron K. Mylroie, 1994-95
  • Aaron G. McGavock, 1999–2001,[2]
  • Rich Summers, 2001-04
  • Devin Nelson, 2002-2005
  • C. Ryan Osorio, 2004-05 [2]
  • Justin Leavitt 2005–07[2]
  • Andrew Syndergaard 2005–09[2]
  • Stephen Jones ca. 2010[11]
  • Josh Drean, 2008–2011[2]
  • Matt McClure, 2012–2015[12]
  • Charlie Bird, 2015–2018[13]
  • Grant Taylor, 2016-2020[14]
  • Stephan Millard, 2017-2020[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ @SXMCollege (April 17, 2020). "After looking into the voting of the..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Walker, Michael R. (Winter 2012). "History of the Cosmos". BYU Magazine. 66 (1): 26–33. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Tietjen, Courtney (2018-04-10). "The history of Cosmo". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  4. ^ Walker, Michael R. "Observing the Cosmos (1990)".
  5. ^ Haleck, Emily. "Cosmo inseparable from BYU sports (2003)". Archived from the original on 2006-01-13.
  6. ^ "Big Red Falls In Controversial Mascot Bracket Championship Round". WNKY News 40 Television. 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  7. ^ "Cosmo crowned mascot national champion". BYU Athletics - Official Athletics Website - BYU Cougars. Retrieved 2023-11-02.
  8. ^ "Home". Cosmo Cougar. Retrieved 2023-10-31.
  9. ^ Harper, Mitch (30 October 2021). "BYU's Cosmo Appears In 'Heisman House' TV Commercial". KSL Sports. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  10. ^ a b "1990-1999 Alumni Cheerleaders". Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  11. ^ "Secrecy: the key to Cosmo's success". Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  12. ^ "BYU's Cosmo provides more than just backflips for fans". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  13. ^ Alberty, Erin; Cannon, Kelly (2019-02-26). "In an interview after coming out as gay, man who was BYU's dancing Cosmo the Cougar talks about 'shame and isolation'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  14. ^ "King & Queen of Country Swing". Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  15. ^ Throwback to my days as Cosmo The Cougar #tricking #byu #martialartist #blackbelt #taekwondo, retrieved 2022-10-01
  16. ^ Harper, Mitch (2020-06-05). "Life As BYU's Cosmo: What It Takes To Become A National Champion Mascot". KSL Sports. Retrieved 2022-10-01.

External links[edit]