Librarian Files

Wilbur the Wildcat-- University of Arizona Mascot

The University of Arizona acquired the Wildcat name after a game on November 7, 1914.  A Los Angeles Times columnist said that the UA team "showed the fight of Wildcats."
The original UA mascot was a live bobcat bought by the freshman football team from an Army Blacksmith, F.W. Fawkins, for $9.41.  This bobcat was officially named Rufus Arizona after the then UA president Rufus Bernard Von KleinSmid. Rufus Arizona died on April 17, 1916 when he fell from a tree and was accidentally hung.
The costumed human mascot, "Wilbur the Wildcat" appeared on November 7, 1959 during an UA-Texas Tech football game.
Wilbur the Wildcat originated with two UA roommates, Richard Heller and John Paquette. In 1959 with $100 from the ASUA the roommates came up with the Wilbur costume and started a booster club called the Wilburs.
Wilma the Wildcat appeared on March 1, 1986.  She and Wilbur were married November 21, 1986 before an UA- ASU game.
The caricature of Wilbur the Wildcat was changed in 2002.   Wilbur's caricature originally had guns.  The UA decided to no longer have the guns in August 2002.
"Drop it!' UA tells Wilbur." Arizona Daily Star. August 22, 2002.  Page B1.
"On the hunt for Wilbur & Wilma." Tucson Citizen. January 24, 2005. Page E1.
Tales from the Morgue, Arizona Daily Star.  Starnet (

Article tagged with: Wilbur the Wildcat, Wilma the Wildcat, Rufus Arizona

Last Update: 7-28-2014 12:24pm

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