Cosmo the Cougar

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Cosmo at the 2006 Fourth of July parade in Provo
UniversityBrigham Young University
ConferenceWest Coast 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 many 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.

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.[1] 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. 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 for the unveiling of that year's Cosmo, Brian Larney (In Dec. 1980 the Cougars beat SMU in the "Miracle Bowl" led by Jim McMahon in San Diego) (The Basketball team led by Danny Ainge went on to the NCAA Tourney and beat UCLA and then Notre Dame in the final seconds.)

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."[2]

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.[3] A team of people, Team Cosmo, helps him with his antics.[4] He drives around in the Cosmobile, a van retrofitted for Cosmo's active lifestyle, and also owns a go-cart.

In popular culture[edit]

Cosmo and the media[edit]

Recently, Cosmo has been the subject of a series of short films,[1] "Cosmo Begins," and "Cosmo: Reloaded," which have been displayed between the third and fourth quarters at home football games.[5] He also participated in the Capital One Mascot Bowl and was featured on several commercials that showed on national television.[citation needed]

Past Cosmos[edit]

Over 70 people have been Cosmo over the years.[3] Some of them include:

  • Daniel T. Gallego, 1953–54[1]
  • Clive Moon, 1954–55[1]
  • Ray Pope, 1955–56[1]
  • Peggy Herron Mortensen, 1955–56[1]
  • Henry Whiffen, 1956–57
  • Betty Mathie, 1957–58
  • Tamie Kirk Mahnken, 1958–59
  • Daniel T. Gallego, 1959–60[1]
  • Roy Spradley, 1960–61[1]
  • Buddy Youngreen, 1961–62[1]
  • Neal Blair 1962–63
  • Ernest Olson, 1966–67
  • John Paxman, 1967–68
  • Ron Swapp, 1969–70
  • Christopher D. Dowling, 1970–71
  • John Bennion, 1971–72
  • Kirk Smith, 1972–73
  • Cliff Holley, 1974–75
  • Tom Nibley, 1975–76
  • Michael T. Dowling, 1976–77[1]
  • Jim Daly, 1977–78[1]
  • Kevin Ludlow, 1978–79
  • Matt Love 1979–80
  • Brian Larney 1980–81 (Miracle Bowl) (NCAA Sweet 16 Basketball)
  • Bruce Grode, 1981–82
  • Dave Wright, 1982–83[1]
  • Gary Saunders, 1983–84
  • Marty Burton, 1984–85
  • Scott Bateman, 1985–86
  • Bob Cardon, 1986–87
  • David Broach, 1987–88
  • Paul Thorley, 1988–89[1]
  • Bret Pope, 1989–90
  • Jerry Kearns, 1990–1991 (Detmer wins Heisman)
  • Michael Porter, 1990–91[1]
  • G. Craig Randall, 1990–92[6]
  • Richard Dee Lalliss, 1990–92[7]
  • Brent Hales, 1992–93
  • Gary Arbuckle, 1993–94
  • Cameron K. Mylroie, 1994–95
  • C. Troy Allred, 1994–95
  • Brian Carroll, 1995–96
  • Rich Savage, 1996–97
  • Adrian Dayton, 1997–98
  • Chad Little, 1998–99
  • Chad Payne, 1999–00
  • Aaron McGavock, 1999–2001
  • Ben Westover, 2000–2001
  • Devin Eden, 2001–03
  • Richard C. Summers, 2001–04
  • Jon Orgill, 2002–05
  • Justin Weidman, 2004–05
  • Devin Nelson, 2003–06
  • Justin Leavitt 2005–07[1]
  • Andrew Syndergaard 2005–09[1]
  • Keith Allen, 2007–10
  • Philip Pare, 2008–2014
  • Stephen Jones ca. 2010[8]
  • Josh Drean, 2008–2011[1]
  • Jorgan Jacobsen 2009–2012
  • James Dalton, 2010–2013
  • Nick Gonzalves, 2010–2013
  • Andrew Bloomfield, 2011–2012; 2014–2017
  • Steven Gay, 2012–2017
  • Carson Jardine, 2012–2018
  • Richard Leopold Wirthlin, 2013–2015
  • Nathan Hansen, 2012–2015
  • Joshua Hardman, 2012–2015
  • Matt McClure, 2012–2015[9]
  • Grant Myres, 2012–2016
  • Eric Evans, 2012–2016
  • Charlie Bird, 2015–2018[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Walker, Michael R. (Winter 2012). "History of the Cosmos". BYU Magazine. 66 (1): 26–33. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  2. ^ "Tryout Judging Criteria".
  3. ^ Walker, Michael R. "Observing the Cosmos (1990)".
  4. ^ Haleck, Emily. "Cosmo inseparable from BYU sports (2003)". Archived from the original on 2006-01-13.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2009-04-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2009-04-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "BYU's Cosmo provides more than just backflips for fans". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  10. ^ 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.

External links[edit]