New Hampshire Wildcats

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New Hampshire Wildcats
University University of New Hampshire
Conference America East Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Marty Scarano
Location Durham, NH
Varsity teams 15 teams
Football stadium Cowell Stadium
Basketball arena Lundholm Gymnasium Whittemore Center
Mascot Wild E. Cat, Gnarlz
Nickname Wildcats
Fight song On To Victory
     UNH Blue[1]       White

The New Hampshire Wildcats, or 'Cats, are the athletic teams of the University of New Hampshire. The wildcat is the school's official mascot, the colors are UNH Blue and white. There are 21 varsity sports, 25 sport clubs, and 23 different Intramural sports.

The men's and women's varsity teams compete at the NCAA Division I level; in football, it competes in the second tier of Division I, the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The football program plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, and the men's and women's hockey teams are members of Hockey East. The other teams compete in the America East, except for the ski teams and gymnastics team who compete in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) and Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) respectively.


UNH is a member of the America East Conference for basketball, cross country, soccer, and track and field; and women's field hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, swimming & diving, and volleyball. They also compete in Hockey East in men's and women's ice hockey, in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) in women's gymnastics, in the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) in men's and women's skiing, and at the Division I FCS level (formerly Division I-AA) in the Colonial Athletic Association for football.

The ice hockey teams are both perennial national powerhouses, and the football program has consistently ranked as one of the stronger teams on the Division I FCS level. The Wildcats have two NCAA National Championships, won in 1985 in women's lacrosse, and 1998 in women's hockey. UNH won the women's lacrosse national championship game 6-5 over Maryland, and the women's hockey national championship 4-1 over Brown University.

The men's basketball program has a long-standing reputation for futility even though the team has improved significantly in recent years. UNH was one of the first schools to take up the sport, but since 1903, no Wildcats team has made it to the NCAA or NIT tournaments and no ex-Wildcat player has made it to the NBA. (However, a former Wildcats coach, Jim Boylan, eventually became the head coach of the Chicago Bulls for a while.) Perhaps the most famous ex-Wildcat basketball player is the former captain Blagoy Janev, who is now one of the stars of Australia's National Basketball League. The Wildcats' rivalry with the Maine Black Bears is the longest continuous basketball rivalry between any two non-Ivy League schools: the men's teams have played each other 107 seasons in a row, from 1904-1905 to the present season (2010-2011.) The University has invested greatly in both the men's and women's basketball programs since the hiring of Bill Herrion but they have yet to achieve the campus wide attention of the Hockey or Football teams.

The UNH men's soccer team has been coached since 1995 by the highly regarded Rob Thompson. Thompson is the program's all time wins leader and consistently turns out one of the nations best defensive teams. The Wildcats have come within a penalty kick shootout of making the NCAA tournament in the past few seasons and are poised to make steps in the future. Thompson routinely brings in the top recruits from the New England area and their recruiting has expanded to the mid-atlantic, midwest, and west coast over the past couple years as well as a strong connection with foreign university students from Sweden. The UNH soccer programs boast both natural grass and Field Turf playing surfaces, a beautifully renovated locker room and lounge area, and a state of the art weight room. The men's and women's soccer programs have won the America East Conference academic team award numerous times. The soccer programs are sponsored by Nike and benefit from a strong Alumni association as well as a local and youth connection through the Soccer Dimensions soccer camps.

Former sports[edit]

In 1997, the University cut baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, and men's lacrosse from its program.

On January 31, 2006, Athletics Director Marty Scarano announced in the 2006 academic year the University was cutting women's crew, men's swimming & diving, and men's and women's tennis at the varsity level, and trimming the size of the men's ski team from 27 to 12. The reason given was the Athletic Department would save $500,000 towards a $1,000,000 budget shortfall, and be in compliance with Title IX for the first time.

Hall of fame[edit]

The University of New Hampshire Athletics Hall of Fame began in 1982.[2] There is a portrait of each member in the UNH Field House.[2]


The university's athletic facilities are concentrated on the west side of the campus, near Durham's Amtrak station.

The football team plays on Mooradian Field in Cowell Stadium, which is attached to the Field House. The Lundholm Gymnasium in the Field House is home to basketball, gymnastics and volleyball. The Field House also contains the Henry C. Swasey Pool, home to the swim teams, as well as the Paul Sweet Oval, which is home to indoor track an as a winter training facility for other sports. The outdoor track team holds its meets at Reggie F. Atkins Track & Field Facility in Cowell Stadium. Jerry Azumah Performance Center at the Field House is named after Chicago Bears player Jerry Azumah who played college football for UNH. Bremner Field, located behind Cowell Stadium, is the home to the soccer teams. The tennis courts where the tennis teams compete are also located behind Cowell Stadium.

Ice Hockey is played in the Towse Rink at the Whittemore Center Arena, which is occasionally used for basketball and gymnastics. The hockey teams' former home, Snively Arena, was incorporated into the Hamel Recreation Center. Memorial Field, located in front of the "Whitt," is home to woman's lacrosse and field hockey.

Mascot & nickname[edit]

The official mascot and nickname is the Wildcats. The Athletic Department holds annual mascot try-outs for selecting male and females to wear the "Wild E. Cat" and "Gnarlz" costumes at various sporting events and occasional university functions. Those selected as the athletic department's icon are cheerleaders.


The Wildcat became the official college mascot and nickname in February 1926. Students cast their votes using a ballot which appeared in the February 26, 1926, edition of The New Hampshire. The "Durham Bulls," a nickname given to the Hockey team by the local media, was a close runner-up. Other votes for the mascot included a husky, an eagle and even a unicorn. It was argued in an opinion piece in The New Hampshire, in part that: The Wildcat is small and aggressive—like New Hampshire. The actions of the wildcat are more symbolic of a New Hampshire team on the field than those of the sluggish bull. Furthermore, the actual mascot, if a wildcat, could be more easily transported from place to place than a bull.

Former live mascots[edit]

The first live mascot of the University was "Mazie," a cat who was captured by a farmer in Meredith, New Hampshire. Maizie made her first appearance at the 1927 Homecoming game, and died in 1929. The second mascot, "Bozo", was purchased in 1932 but disappeared in Spring 1933.

The third cat was purchased in 1934, and was to be named for the first New Hampshire player to score in the historical football game against Maine. Charles scored the first touchdown, but Henry kicked the first field goal; neither name was chosen and the cat was named "Butch Watson." Butch Watson lived behind the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house in a cage and was the only mascot to be stolen by a rival school. Butch Watson was stolen in 1939, a week before a football game against Harvard and just after the Wildcats beat Tufts. There were no claims of responsibility, but the cat was found in a garage in Woburn, Massachusetts with "HARVARD 60, N.H. 0," written on the top of the cage.

"Butch Watson II" was the fourth mascot and was purchased in 1940, but lived only a week. In 1970, a fan's pet wildcat appeared at some football games.

"Wild E. Cat" and "Gnarlz"[edit]

Since 1940, the only live mascot has been "Wild E. Cat" and "Gnarlz," a cheerleader dressed in a wildcat costume. The Athletic Department "Gnarlz" made its debut at the football team's 2008 home opener against Albany on September 20. "Gnarlz" was named via an online poll and was designed to have a "more athletic physique" and "more student-friendly look."[3]

Official colors[edit]

UNH BlueHow to read this color infobox
About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet #002f87
sRGBB  (rgb) (0, 47, 135)
CMYKH   (c, m, y, k) (100, 72, 2, 12)
HSV       (h, s, v) (219°, 100%, 53%)
Source [Unsourced]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
H: Normalized to [0–100] (hundred)

The official colors of the University and used by the athletic teams are UNH Blue and white. UNH Blue is a dark blue matching Pantone color 287.[4]

New Hampshire is known as the "Granite State." White resembles the White Mountains of New Hampshire, located an hour north of Durham. The University of New Hampshire campus is located about a mile from the Great Bay estuary, which runs out to the Atlantic Ocean. Blue resembles the Atlantic Ocean.

New Hampshire Colors
written by E Y Blewett '26

We'll take our stand for New Hampshire
Loyal to colors true
White from ever lasting hill and
from the ocean blue
wherever college men gather
long her worth we'll tell
All your sons and your daughters stand to
Sing your praises Alma Mater Hail.


Throwing Out the Fish (Hockey)[edit]

UNH has a long history of successful hockey programs. Dating back to Charlie Holt in the 1970s to present day coach Dick Umile, it has had great support and is a figurehead among the university community. A prominent tradition within the program has been the throwing of the fish. After UNH scores its first goal, all fans turn their attention to the opposing teams net. Up and over the boards, a fish is thrown onto the ice. The crowd erupts in excitement.

According to Bob Norton, a former UNH assistant coach, the fish-tossing tradition began in the early 1970s. "It goes back to when we were playing a Division II team, and our program had gone way past theirs. I remember (the UNH fans) threw out this little dinky thing and they called it a Division II fish. I guess they were trying to tell them they weren't worthy of a first-rate fish."

This tradition caught on as the Zeta Chi fraternity made it a ritual to throw out the fish after UNH's first goal. The fish was used to resemble the visiting team, "fishing the puck out of the net."

One of Umile's favorite fish incidents occurred in the early 1990s. At that time, the home team received a penalty if fans threw objects on the ice. "At all these different rinks people were throwing things – tennis balls, newspapers – and it was really holding up the game," Umile recalls. "It's the Maine weekend, and the cops won't let the kid in with the fish. I'm in the office before the game, and the students come to get me. So I go down there, get the fish from the cops, and we're walking in with the fish in the bag. The kids say, 'But coach, we're going to get a penalty.' I say, 'Don't worry about it. We'll kill the penalty. Just throw the fish.'"[5] Throwing The Fish

Fight songs[edit]

The recognized school fight song is "On to Victory," with the most current version arranged by former Director of Athletic Bands Tom Keck (1998–2003). In 2003, "UNH Cheer (originally "Cheer Boys")" was resurrected from the University archives by former Director of Athletic Bands Erika Svanoe (2003-2006). "UNH Cheer" currently serves as a secondary fight song and is often performed immediately following "On to Victory." It is based on the school song "Old New Hampshire", not to be confused with the New Hampshire state song of the same name. "New Hampshire Hymn" is the official fight song, but generally goes unused (but the Wildcat Marching Band did incorporate the official song into their pre-game show beginning in the 2010 football season). The school also has another secondary fight song, "New Hampshire Colors" E. Y. Blewett '26.

Radio & Television[edit]

Currently the Wildcats are carried by a network of radio stations (Known as The UNH Sports Network) across New Hampshire, anchored by WGIR in Manchester and WPKX and WQSO in Rochester. Games are also carried by student radio station WUNH.

Games are seen on television on NESN, and WBIN-TV.[6] New Hampshire Public Television broadcast UNH men's hockey games from the 1972/1973 season through the 2007/2008 season, but announced in June 2008 that they would no longer do so due to budgetary considerations. Some Wildcats telecasts have aired on WMUR-TV in the past.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]