University of Louisville Magazine


The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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3 0 | L O U I S V I L L E . E D U THE FLEDGLING According to a 2009 UofL Magazine article, "Early Bird Special," written by Andrea Blaie and Kevin Hyde, the Cardinal Bird mascot made the jump from Adams' cloth version to papier-mâché in the fall of '58. Marching band member Richard M. "Dick" Dyson, 61S, who served as the mascot from 1958 to 1960, f rst put on a handmade costume for a Louisville Thanksgiving Parade. "Three of us in the band — Gearl Asher, [Robert] Sam Badgett, 61S, 74GS, and I — got the idea to dress someone up as the university's mascot and march with the drum major for the Thanksgiving Parade," recalls Dyson. "I got tabbed to do the honors because I was a drum major at Frankfort High School." "We created the head out of papier-mâché on top of a wire frame," Dyson says. "The UofL Players gave us a long black coat with tails for the costume. I had a white dress shirt, and we found a large 'L' for the front. I had white dress pants and a pair of spats worn over my shoes, and I carried a black cane with a white top. The head had holes in the eyes and below the beak for viewing and breathing. I'm six foot f ve, and when I wore the head I was about seven feet tall." Unlike Adams' experience several years earlier, the bird costume was a pretty big hit. It soon joined the cheerleaders at all the home games and several away games. No one is certain when Dyson's papier-mâché version of the head f nally retired, but we do know it was passed on from student to student for a good decade (if not more). REUNITED & RESTORED One of the students lucky enough to take on mascot duties and don the papier- mâché cardinal head was Dr. Lowell Katz. After his Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brother, Ken Morris, 73B, passed down the role to him, it was his game time uniform from 1967 to '71. "Being the Cardinal Bird was one of those def ning moments in my life. My claim to fame, really," exclaimed Katz in a recent interview. "I always looked back at that time with such joy and am so proud I was able to be part of that history." For a long time after graduation, Katz and his wife, Martha, 71A, 76GE, thought about the Cardinal costume and wondered about its fate. He eventually learned his friends, Bob, 68A, 75L, and Yolonda, 70A, DeGolian were in possession of the well- travelled (and well-worn) Cardinal head. "I badgered them about giving it to me for years," said Katz, "and they politely refused each time." It had become a holiday and game time staple at the DeGolian household, often sitting atop the mailbox to greet passersby (many having no idea of the UofL athletic history right in front of them!) After several years, when Katz had given up on the idea of owning a signif cant piece of his past, the fateful day arrived. Bob and Yolonda called to pass the Cardinal head down to Katz. "Martha and I were thrilled!" exclaimed Katz. But after years of consistent use, many on top of the mailbox, the paint and papier-mâché were really worn. Katz said, "We decided it had to be restored and called local artist Gayle Cerlan, 76A, 09GA. Thankfully, she was able to bring it back to its original glory." Today, the Katzes display the Cardinal head in a safe and prominent place in their home. Every so often, Katz will bring it to special events or UofL gatherings to show off this special piece of Louisville history. And Katz loves every moment of it. "If UofL athletics asked me to put on the Cardinal head and work a game, I'd do it in a heartbeat!" L O U I E : T H E B I R T H O F A F E A T H E R E D F R I E N D

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