The history story of Brutus Buckeye credits Ray Bourhis with creating the mascot in 1965 while he was a student at Ohio State University. Bourhis, is now a San Francisco lawyer and is only too happy to acknowledge paternity. But he wants it known that there was also a mom: his college girlfriend Sally (Huber) Lanyon. Columbus Dispatch writer Joe Blundo chronicled the mascot's beginnings in his article from October 12, 2006.
He was an irrepressible liberal from New York. She was a conservative sorority girl from Mansfield. Their differences drove them apart. But before the relationship ended, they conceived a mascot: Brutus Buckeye.
In an already-mascot-rich world, OSU had no character risking heat exhaustion to cavort on the sidelines in an outlandish costume. Bourhis, a member of the volunteer service organization Ohio Staters, proposed to fill the void with a deer. But others insisted that the mascot had to be closer to a horse chestnut. The trick would be, how to dress a nut up and put it on the football field?
Lanyon and Bourhis have slightly different memories of the birth, but they agree that it involved papiermache and wire; and happened at Pi Beta Phi, her sorority. Originally Brutus looked something like an oversize army helmet with feet and was named by Kerry Reed, a student who submitted the winning entry in a name-the-mascot contest.
Brutus made his debut at the Minnesota game. The identity of the first student to don the costume is lost in mascot history. But there’s no doubt that the crowd loved the character — a big nut with changeable facial expressions.
"The place just went wild Bourhis recalled. He realized that a papier-mache Brutus would never withstand the rigors of Big Ten football. So he found someone to make a lighter fiberglass costume to finish the season.
In the years since, Brutus has been through several metamorphoses, leading to today’s more-agile version.
While Brutus endured, the Bourhis-Lanyon relationship didn’t. "I was this little conservative Protestant from Ohio, and he was this liberal Democrat from New York," Lanyon said. "I think that’s why we didn’t stay together."
The word mascot has been traced back to a dialectic use in Provence and Gascony, where it was used to describe anything which brought luck to a household. The word was first popularized in 1880, when French composer Edmond Audran wrote a popular comic operetta titled La Mascotte. However, it had been in use in France long before this, as French slang among gamblers, derived from the Occitan word masco, meaning witch (perhaps from Portuguese mascotto, meaning witchcraft), and also mascoto, meaning spell.
Audran's operetta was so popular that it was translated into English as 'The Mascot', introducing into the English language a word for any animal, person, or object that brings good luck.
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October 30, 1965 - Buckeye mascot first appears at the OSU vs. Minnesota Homecoming game
November 18, 1965 - The campus wide contest to determine the name for the new mascot is held and judges announced that the winning entry was "Brutus Buckeye," submitted by Kerry Reed.
Pictorial History of Brutus Buckeye
What were they thinking?
Brutus Attacked By Bobcat!
(Only signs of fight from Athens that day)
As you can see from a video taken of the fight, Rufus was clearly the instigator, tackling an unsuspecting Brutus near midfield. Brutus seems shocked at first, but when the fracas spills into the end zone he just gets annoyed. The Buckeye players who were closest to the fight appear totally uninterested.
Ohio University has apologized to Ohio State, and the student who was in the Rufus costume has been barred from any further affiliation with the university’s athletics. But that may not matter to the student, Brandon Manning, who apparently only tried out for the honor of being Rufus so that he could tackle Brutus. Perhaps this will push OU to #1 party school in next year's survey.