When Syracuse University was founded in1872, school officials selected a duo of colors that included rose pink and green pea. By 1890, the unpopular shades of rose pink and green pea were eliminated, and orange was chosen as the official color.
Today, orange is now both the school color and nickname, with Otto the Orange being the school mascot.
1. Initial Contest: The first Syracuse intercollegiate football game was played in 1889. At that point, Syracuse University only had three school colors and no mascot or nickname.
2. Jubilant Celebration: In 1890, students returning from an upstate N.Y. collegiate track meet decide to display only orange in support of the school's athletic endeavors.
3. Shortly thereafter: Syracuse University became the first college to adopt just one color as its official hue. It decided on orange because no other school was using that color at the time.
4. Vita the Goat: In 1920, or thereabouts, Vita the Goat made his first appearance at an Archibold Stadium football game, where he was adorned with banners or placards encouraging the school team.
5. Just a hoax: In 1931, the fictitious Onondaga Chief, Bill Orange, first appeared in the student newspaper, which at the time was known as The Syracuse Orange Peel. The article that stated the Iroquois Chief's remains had been found buried on campus proved to be a hoax, but the idea of an American Indian mascot for university sporting events caught on.
6. Saltine Warriors: From the Indian mascot, the nickname of the Saltine Warriors stuck. In this case, "Saltine" refers to the abundant salt flats in the area, which were vital to both Native Americans and early settlers.
7. Protests in the '70s: In 1978. protests by Amerindian students and alumni eventually led to the abandonment of Saltine Warrior as the team nickname.
8. Trial and Error: After the protests, the team underwent an extensive search for an appropriate nickname and mascot. Some of the unsuccessful candidates included Egnaro the Troll, a Roman gladiator, a guy in an orange tuxedo, Dome Eddie and the Dome Ranger. (Note: SU football home games were first played in Carrier Dome in 1980.)
9. Orange Men and Women: For a while, Syracuse University athletes were known as either the Orangemen or Orangewoman, depending on gender.
10. Otto The Orange: In 1995, the transformation was complete. Syracuse University would be known as "gender-neutral." The Orange and the mascot would be an orange fruit figure with feet and legs. Meet Otto the Orange.
After an undistinguished career as a Syracuse freshman lacrosse midfielder, I follow SU sports whenever I can.