|History of Oski (top)
1868-1941: Cal Before Oski (back to beginning)
The California Golden Bear has been a symbol of the State of California since the raising of the first bear flag on June 14, 1846 during what is now known as the "Bear Flag Revolt." Because of this, it was only natural that in 1895 when the California Track and Field team travelled to the east coast to compete with the best schools of the time, they did so under a blue banner with a large golden bear in the center. The banner brought luck to the Cal team; they ended up winning the meet, stunning the elite eastern universities! At that point, the University of California's mascot became the "Golden Bear." The State of California would later follow the University's lead by adopting the Bear Flag in 1911 and blue and gold as the official state colors in 1951. Because the university needed a mascot, it was decided at the time that there would be live bear cubs on the sideline at Cal football games. During this time, the California rooting section could also be heard reciting the Oski Yell:
Oski Wow Wow!
Whiskey Wee Wee!
The yell became quite popular among the Cal faithful, and could be heard at almost every Cal athletic event and rally. Because of the popularity of the Oski Yell and the danger of having live bear cubs on the field at football games, it was decided that there should be a more loveable mascot: Oski.
1941-1960: Oski's Early Years and Cal's Golden Age (back to beginning)
Oski made his debut on September 27, 1941 just in time for California's season opener against the St. Mary's Gaels (to learn more about William Rockwell, click here). The Bears ended up defeating the Gaels 31-0 and Oski has been a fixture on the University of California campus ever since. In his first years as the mascot of the University of California, Oski was around to see some pretty amazing things. When he was just six years old (1947) he witnessed the California baseball team win the first ever College World Series and the hiring of legendary football coach Lynn O. "Pappy" Waldorf. Pappy Waldorf would go onto lead the Bears to great success with three straight PCC championships and Rose Bowl berths, perhaps even more importantly, Waldorf had a 7-1-2 record against Stanford. Oski also was around to see Pete Newell and Cal basketball's 1959 National Championship team and Cal football's most recent Rose Bowl appearance in 1960.
1960-2002: The Maturing of Oski (back to beginning)
All of the success Oski saw in his early years went to his head, and he developed a bit of an ego. Oski could often be seen balancing between the uprights, stealing the ball from referees, and flirting with many, many girls. Oski was also regularly seen drinking "water" with a straw through his eye—an incredible feat that not many people or animals can do! During this time, Oski also got into the historic battle with the Stanford Tree. The Tree attacked a completely innocent Oski at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus. Despite the surpise attack, Oski was able to get up and defeat the Tree in a knockout decision. To this day, Oski enjoys reenacting this epic battle. He was also on hand to witness the most exciting games in college football: the 1982 Big Game. Oski was on hand to see the Bears make it through Stanford's final line of defense (the Stanford Band) and celebrate after the completion of "The Play." While Cal football and men's basketball had some tough seasons during this time, it never phased Oski and he became a better mascot because of it.
2002-present: Oski in the New Millennium (back to beginning)
To this day, Oski continues to be a large part of the spirit on the University of California campus. He can be seen at every Cal football, men's basketball, volleyball, women's basketball games as well as many other Cal sporting events, alumni events, and rallies. He can often be seen creating mischief, flirting, cheering on the Golden Bears, and, of course, bringing joy and smiles to Cal fans of all ages..