Cincinnati Bearcats

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Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati Bearcats logo.svg
University University of Cincinnati
Conference American Athletic Conference
NCAA Division I (FBS)
Athletic directorJohn Cunningham
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Varsity teams18
Football stadium Nippert Stadium
Basketball arena Fifth Third Arena
Baseball stadium UC Baseball Stadium
Other arenas Armory Fieldhouse, U.S. Bank Arena
Fight song"Cheer Cincinnati"
ColorsRed and Black [1]
The American logo in Cincinnati's colors The American logo in Cincinnati colors.svg
The American logo in Cincinnati's colors

The Cincinnati Bearcats are the athletic teams that represent the University of Cincinnati. The teams are members of the American Athletic Conference (The American), which from 1979 to 2013 was known as the Big East Conference. Cincinnati and Wichita State University are currently the only members of The American that are located in the Midwestern United States; all other members are in the Northeast or South.


The Bearcats were previously members of Conference USA, where they were a founding member. The creation of Conference USA was the result of a merger between the Great Midwest Conference (of which Cincinnati was a member) and the Metro Conference (whom Cincinnati had previously been a member) in 1995. Other collegiate athletic conferences which the school has belonged to includes the Missouri Valley Conference, 1957–1969; the Mid-American Conference, 1947–1952; the Buckeye Athletic Association, 1925–1935, and the Ohio Athletic Conference, 1910–1924.

The Bearcat

The Bearcat mascot in 2011 Cincinnati Bearcat.png
The Bearcat mascot in 2011

The Bearcat became the UC mascot on October 31, 1914 in a football game against the UK Wildcats. The key players in the birth of the Bearcat were a star UC player named Baehr, a creative cheerleader, and a talented cartoonist. During the second half of that hard-fought football game, UC cheerleader Norman "Pat" Lyon, building on the efforts of fullback Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr, created the chant: "They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side." The crowd took up the cry: "Come on, Baehr-cat!" Cincinnati prevailed, 14–7, and the victory was memorialized in a cartoon published on the front page of the student newspaper, the weekly University News, on November 3. The cartoon, by John "Paddy" Reece, depicted a bedraggled Kentucky Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled "Cincinnati Bear Cat".

The name stuck, but not immediately. Following Teddy Baehr's graduation in 1916, the name dropped out of use, at least in print, for a few years. On November 15, 1919, Cincinnati played at Tennessee. The Cincinnati Enquirer writer Jack Ryder's dispatch on the game was the first time that the major media called UC's teams "Bearcats." From then on, the university's teams were regularly called Bearcats. [2]

In 2008 the Cincinnati Zoo adopted a three-month-old binturong or "bearcat". The zoo had a public naming contest where they decided on the name "Lucy." Lucy was a prominent figure at the University of Cincinnati often to be found on Sheakley Lawn before home football games. On August 30, 2019, it was announced that "Lucy", the Cincinnati Zoo's binturong (Bearcat) would be retiring from her duties as Mascot. [3]

Varsity sports

Men's sportsWomen's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross countryGolf
Football Lacrosse
Swimming & divingSwimming & diving
Track and fieldTennis
Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

The University of Cincinnati sponsors teams in eight men's and 10 women's NCAA-sanctioned sports, competing in the American Athletic Conference.


Men's basketball

Cincinnati's men's basketball squads have been a perennial bracket team in the NCAA tournament. A prolific era in Bearcats basketball was during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the Bearcats posted five consecutive Final Four appearances. Unanimous three-time All American guard Oscar Robertson led the nation in scoring during the 1957–58, 1958–59, and 1959–60 seasons and posted a career average of 33.8 points per game, which ranks as the third all-time best in Division I.

Cincinnati has won two national championships in 1961 and 1962. The 1961 and 1962 titles were won under rookie coach Ed Jucker.

Cincinnati fell out of prominence during the early 1970s. After a brief resurgence in the mid-1970s, the program fell on hard times in the 1980s, but was revitalized under head coach Bob Huggins following his hiring in 1989. Under Huggins, the Bearcats compiled a 399–127 record in sixteen seasons, and posted fourteen straight NCAA tournament appearances. The most notable of the teams from the Huggins era was the 1991–1992 team, which lost to the Michigan Wolverines in the Final Four. In addition, Huggins was responsible for recruiting several future NBA players including Kenyon Martin, Corie Blount, Ruben Patterson, Nick Van Exel and DerMarr Johnson. Huggins would eventually resign in 2005 after a power struggle with UC president Nancy Zimpher, with the resulting coaching vacuum leading to a dip in fortunes for the Bearcats. However, the hiring of alumnus Mick Cronin in 2006 would restore UC to national prominence, reaching the NCAA Tournament nine straight years until Cronin left to coach at UCLA.

Postseason tournaments

Women's basketball


Men's soccer

The men's soccer program was discontinued effectively immediately on April 14, 2020. [4]

Club sports

The Bearcat statue in front of Fifth Third Arena BearcatStatue.JPG
The Bearcat statue in front of Fifth Third Arena

The university has a diverse number of intercollegiate club sports teams. Notable teams include alpine skiing (which competes in the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association), men's baseball, rowing, lacrosse, men's soccer, and the men's ice hockey team (which competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association DII). The Tennis Club competes in the USTA Tennis on Campus and the Great Lakes Tennis Conference. The Waterski Team were 2008 DII National Champions. The University of Cincinnati Rugby Football Club was established in 1971 and competes in Division 1 college rugby in the MAC conference. The University of Cincinnati Women's Rugby Football Club was founded in 2012 and competes in Division 2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. In 2014 and 2015 UCWRFC competed in the Women's College Division 2 Fall Championship; advancing to the round of 8 in 2015.

Club sports at Cincinnati operate in a tier system. The top tier are the Tier 5 sports, which are classified as semi-varsity. These clubs operate at a level similar to a varsity team in sports for which Cincinnati lacks varsity representation, and the tier reflects the commitment these students dedicate to their club. The four Tier 5 semi-varsity sports as of 2013 are equestrian, men's ice hockey, men's and women's rowing, and men's and women's waterski. [5]


NCAA team championships

Cincinnati has won 2 NCAA team national championships. [6]

Other national team championships

Below are 5 national team titles that were not bestowed by the NCAA:

The Bearcats won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1961 and 1962, both times against Ohio State. The UC Dance Team has won 5 National Championships from 2004 through 2006, 2009 and again in 2015. They are the first team in UC history to ever capture three consecutive national titles. They remain one of the top dance programs in the country and are the winningest team in University of Cincinnati history. In 2009 the dance team was also selected to represent the United States of America in the first ever world dance championships where they won the gold medal in all three dance categories. The dance team was asked back to the world competition in 2015. [7]

National individual championships

Charles Keating won the 1946 200m butterfly national title for UC as a member of the men's swimming team and most recently, Josh Schneider [8] did the same in the 50-yard (46 m) freestyle in 2010. In men's diving, Pat Evans (3 m Dive – 1989) and women's diving Becky Ruehl (10 m dive – 1996) have brought home titles for the Bearcats.


An early version of the UC Bearcats logo, from 1922 Bearcat 1922 full.jpg
An early version of the UC Bearcats logo, from 1922

Miami (OH)

Cincinnati's oldest football rivalry, begun in 1888, is with Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio about 40 miles to the northwest. The Victory Bell awarded to the winner of each contest.

The teams take each other on annual in many other sports. Unfortunately, the teams have not played in men's basketball since 2011.


In basketball, the Bearcats' crosstown rival is the Xavier University Musketeers. Xavier is located less than 3 miles from the University of Cincinnati's main campus. The Bearcats and the Musketeers meet annually in the popular Crosstown Shootout.

Cincinnati and Xavier used to have a fierce rivalry in football, before Xavier eliminated their program after the 1973 season. The schools routinely battle each other in other sports annually as well.


Cincinnati and the University of Louisville battled annually for the Keg of Nails. This rivalry dated back to 1929, but ended when Louisville joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

The men's basketball teams of both schools have also participated in a fierce rivalry historically, with Louisville leading the all time series 53–43.

The schools continue to play in other sports, primarily an annual game in baseball.


The rivalry between these two schools dates to their first men's college football game in 1966, and has continued across all sports, with the basketball series gaining attention as well, having started in 1968.

Interest in the series was renewed with both teams reuniting in the American Athletic Conference and Memphis's basketball reemergence. Football has also intensified, with both teams playing in the 2019 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game.


When Cincinnati joined the Big East in 2005, they and the University of Pittsburgh started the River City Rivalry. The game is a battle for the River City Rivalry trophy. In 2013 the rivalry series ended due to Pittsburgh's exit from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Cincinnati and the Dayton Flyers were another regional rivalry that has lost significance recently. The teams would play periodically in football, before Dayton went down to NCAA Division III in 1977. The teams also frequently played in men's basketball, though the series has ceased since 2011.

Cincinnati also has had intermittent rivalries with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Ohio Bobcats, and the Kentucky Wildcats. Although Cincinnati does not play these schools regularly, these are geographic rivals and are all universities of similar size and stature. In 1961 and 1962 Cincinnati defeated Ohio State in both of its back-to-back national title games in basketball.

Athletic facilities

The UC Bearcat Band charges down Nippert Stadium's steps. UCchargedownthesteps.JPG
The UC Bearcat Band charges down Nippert Stadium's steps.

All of the athletic facilities (with the exception of Fifth Third Arena and UC Baseball Stadium) are open 24/7 for student use. [9]

Nippert Stadium NippertStadium.JPG
Nippert Stadium

Radio and television

Since 1992, 700 WLW has been the radio home for Bearcats athletics. Dan Hoard has been the football and basketball play-by-play since 2000. Former Bearcat Terry Nelson began full times duties at the Beginning of the 2017-18 season analyst for basketball replacing Chuck Machock, during the 2015-16 Basketball season, Machock decided to reduce his travel schedule and not attend every road game as in previous years; due to an leg injury, [10] Former Bearcat Kevin Johnson does radio color commentary when Nelson is on TV.

Jim Kelly, a Bearcat wide receiver during the mid 1970s, provides analysis for football. Mo Egger an afternoon radio host on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530 is the football pregame and postgame show host. in 2015 Former Bearcat QB Tony Pike was named the new sideline reporter replacing Tom Gelehrter, When there is a conflict with the Reds 102.7 WEBN will usually air games, when a conflict with the Bengals 55KRC airs basketball games. Egger is the backup play-by-play man for basketball. Starting in 2008, Fox Sports Ohio became the local TV flagship station for basketball until the 2016-17 season.

Tom Gelehrter replaced Michael Reghi as the play by play for non-conference basketball games on FSN Ohio beginning in 2010 [11] former Bearcat Anthony Buford, was relieved from his color commentary duties after pleading guilty in a mortgage fraud scheme [12] Terry Nelson [13] a former bearcat, replaced Buford for color commentary.

Notable alumni


Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax Sandy Koufax.jpg
Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax
All Star Kevin Youkilis Youk 2009.jpg
All Star Kevin Youkilis


Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson Oscar Robertson 1960.jpeg
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson
Yancy Gates Yancy Gates.JPG
Yancy Gates



Tony Trabert Tony Trabert.jpg
Tony Trabert


Related Research Articles

Edwin Louis Jucker was an American basketball and baseball coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head basketball coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy from 1945 to 1948, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) from 1948 to 1953, the University of Cincinnati from 1960 to 1965, and Rollins College from 1972 to 1977, compiling a career college basketball coaching record of 270–122. He led the Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball program to consecutive national titles, winning the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 1961 and 1962. Jucker was also the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats baseball team from 1954 to 1960 while serving as an assistant coach for the basketball team. He spent two seasons coaching in the professional ranks, leading the Cincinnati Royals of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1967 to 1969. Jucker served as the athletic director at Rollins College from 1981 to 1983.

Fifth Third Arena Multi-purpose arena in Cincinnati, Ohio

Fifth Third Arena is a 12,012-seat basketball arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. The number of seats in the arena was reduced from the initial 13,176 seat design to 12,012 in honor of the number 12 jersey of Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. The arena opened in 1989 and is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. It primarily serves as the home venue for the Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's volleyball teams and hosts other events. It is located in the Myrl H. Shoemaker Center, which was also the name of the arena until 2005, when it was named for Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank.

Bob Huggins American basketball coach

Robert Edward Huggins is an American college basketball coach. Nicknamed “Huggy Bear,” he is currently the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball team. Huggins previously held the head coaching positions at Walsh College (1980–1983), the University of Akron (1984–1989), the University of Cincinnati (1989–2005) and Kansas State University (2006–2007). On April 5, 2007, he accepted an offer to return to coach his alma mater, West Virginia University. After leading the Mountaineers to a Sweet 16 appearance, Huggins signed an 11-year contract with the university after the season ended.

San Diego State Aztecs

The San Diego State Aztecs are the athletic teams that represent San Diego State University (SDSU). San Diego State currently sponsors six men's and thirteen women's sports at the varsity level.

Mick Cronin (basketball) American basketball coach

Michael Walter Cronin is an American men's college basketball coach who is the head coach of the UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. Cronin was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in his first season with the Bruins in 2019–20. He arrived at UCLA having previously served as the head coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats for 13 seasons. Cronin had been named the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Coach of the Year in 2014 and guided Cincinnati's program to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Prior to joining Cincinnati in 2006, he coached the Murray State Racers from 2003 to 2006.

Charlotte 49ers Intercollegiate athletics team of the University of North Carolina

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Bob Wiesenhahn

Robert B. Wiesenhahn, Jr. is an American former professional basketball player.

New Mexico State Aggies

The New Mexico State University teams are called the Aggies, a nickname derived from the university's agricultural beginnings. The mascot is known as "Pistol Pete". NMSU's colors are crimson and white. Since 2005 the Aggies have competed in the Western Athletic Conference in all men's and women's sports with the exception of football in which the Aggies have been Independent since 2018. New Mexico State sponsors six men's and ten women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports. The athletic director is Mario Moccia, who has held the position since January 2015.

Murray State Racers

The Murray State Racers are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing Murray State University (MSU), located in Murray, Kentucky, United States. The Racers athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and competes at the NCAA Division I level including the Football Championship Subdivision. The MSU teams are the Racers, the costumed racehorse mascot is named Dunker, the live racehorse football mascot is Racer-One, and the school colors are navy blue and gold. Racer teams have won three NCAA rifle championships.

The Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball program represents the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. The school's team competes in NCAA Division I as part of the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats are currently coached by Wes Miller.

Tony Yates was an American college basketball player and head coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats. As a player, he won consecutive national championships with Cincinnati in 1961 and 1962. Yates was named a third-team All-American in 1963, when the Bearcats advanced to the national championship game for the third straight season. In the 1980s he was the head coach at Cincinnati for six seasons.

The 2009–10 Cincinnati Bearcats women's basketball team will represent the University of Cincinnati in the 2009–10 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Bearcats will be coached by Jamelle Elliott, and play their home games at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bearcats are a member of the Big East conference and will attempt to win the NCAA championship.

Carl Edward Bouldin is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher who also played college baseball and college basketball for the University of Cincinnati, where he was a member of the NCAA Championship-winning 1960–61 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team. He played in an NCAA national championship game and in Major League Baseball the same year. Bouldin was listed as 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and 180 pounds (82 kg); in baseball, he was a switch hitter who threw right-handed.

Cincinnati Bearcats football

The Cincinnati Bearcats football program represents the University of Cincinnati in college football. They compete at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level as members of the American Athletic Conference, and have played their home games in historic Nippert Stadium since 1924. The Bearcats have an all-time record of over .500 as of 2018, having reached their 600th program victory in 2017. The team has had a bit of a resurgence in the past few years, going 98-56 since 2006, along with 9 bowl game appearances, 5 conference titles, three BCS/NY6 Bowl berths, and 22 NFL Draft selections.

Dayton Flyers

The Dayton Flyers are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of Dayton of Dayton, Ohio. All Flyers intercollegiate sports teams participate at the NCAA Division I level. The football team competes in the Division I FCS non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, and women's golf plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, while all other sports compete in the non-football Atlantic 10 Conference.

Taylor "Tay" Baker is a retired American basketball coach.

The Cincinnati–Louisville rivalry is a college sports rivalry between the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and the University of Louisville Cardinals. The rivalry between these two schools, located about 80 miles (130 km) apart, dates to their first men's college basketball game in 1921, and has continued across all sports, with the football series gaining attention as well, having started in 1929. Both universities share common characteristics, both being over 200 year old institutions in urban settings. The schools have also shared conferences historically, with the rivalry stretching over the span of four conferences from the Missouri Valley Conference, to the Metro Conference to Conference USA, and more recently in the Big East Conference, which in 2013 was renamed to the American Athletic Conference. After the 2013–14 season, Louisville joined the Atlantic Coast Conference and since then the rivalry has been put on hiatus in football and basketball. However, many other sports at the universities, such as baseball, continue to battle periodically.

The 2019–20 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team represented the University of Cincinnati in the 2019–20 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Bearcats were led by first-year head-coach John Brannen. The team played their home games at Fifth Third Arena as members of the American Athletic Conference.

The Cincinnati–Memphis rivalry is a college sports rivalry between the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and the University of Memphis Tigers. The rivalry between these two schools dates to their first men's college football game in 1966, and has continued across all sports, with the basketball series gaining attention as well, having started in 1968. The schools have also shared conferences historically, with the rivalry stretching over the span of five conferences from the Missouri Valley Conference, to the Metro Conference, Great Midwest Conference, Conference USA, and more recently in the American Athletic Conference.

The 2005–06 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team represented the University of Cincinnati during the 2005–06 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team played its home games in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Fifth Third Arena, which has a capacity of 13,176. They are members of the Big East Conference and were led by first-year head coach Andy Kennedy after the resignation of longtime coach Bob Huggins. The Bearcats finished the season 23–13, 8–8 in Big East play.


  1. Brand Color (PDF). University of Cincinnati Branding Standards Manual. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  2. "History of the Bearcat, University of Cincinnati". Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  3. "Lucy the bearcat, UC's live mascot, is retiring".
  4. "UC Discontinues Men's Soccer Program". GoBearcats. April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  5. University of Cincinnati, Club Sports Handbook,
  7. "World Champions!". Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  8. "University of Cincinnati swimmer Josh Schneider won national championship. Next up? Olympics, University of Cincinnati". August 18, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  9. "University of Cincinnati Official Athletic Site". Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  10. Koch, Bill. "KOCH: Machock Returning to the Road for American Tournament". CBSi. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  11. "FOX Sports Ohio Announces 2010–11 UC Basketball Telecast Schedule". Cincinnati Bearcats Official Athletic Website. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  12. Eck, Denise (April 22, 2011). "Former UC star Anthony Buford admits guilt in mortgage fraud scheme". WCPO. E.W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on April 25, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  13. Kiesewetter, John (October 27, 2011). "Terry Nelson Joins UC TV Team". The Cincinnati Enquirer . Gannett. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.

Further reading