Introducing Bryan’s New Lion Mascot

Leo the Lion, Bryan College Mascot

A New Era. Changing of the Guard.

by Concetta Swann, Advancement Writer/Editor/Assistant

For decades, Bryan students, faculty, staff, and alumni have proudly been known as the Bryan Lions. There have been many iterations of the Bryan Lion over the years, whether as a mascot, on a T-shirt, or in a graphic design piece. This year, we are excited to introduce our new lion logo!

You might wonder why the Lion was originally chosen as our mascot. Though Bryan College had both Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams for the first four years of the school (1930-1934), there is no record in the yearbooks that these early teams were called the Lions. For the next fifteen years, Bryan College did not have intercollegiate sports, though students did compete in a variety of games on intramural teams called the Scarlets and Golds.

In 1949, a handful of students came together to form an intercollegiate Cross Country & Track team. The progress of this team over the next few years can be tracked through the monthly Newsette letters from that time. Early on, these student-athletes are referred to as “Bryanites,” a term used during that time to describe any Bryan student or alumnus. In a June 1951 Newsette, the Track team is surprisingly called the “Bryan Beavers.” This alliterative team name thankfully seems to have been short-lived, as the December 1951 Newsette celebrates the first victories of the Bryan Lions at cross-country track meets, and the yearbook from the 1951/52 school year dedicated five pages to the accomplishments of the Lions.

Though the Lion seems to have been introduced as our mascot in 1951, our archives contain no record of a big announcement or explanation of why the Lion was chosen. Some might theorize that the choice had to do with the speculation that William Jennings Bryan was satirized as the Cowardly Lion in Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Another might guess that the choice was more spiritual in nature, referencing the Lion of Judah. A simpler explanation might be that the words Bryan and Lion rhyme.

Although the original motivation for the choice is unknown, the lion has represented our community well. It illustrates the strength, courage, and fierce commitment to Christ Above All that has characterized the Bryan community for over ninety years. As our Bryan Lions play on the field, learn in the classroom, and make a difference in the world, this new iteration of our Bryan Lion will continue to represent what it means to be part of the Bryan community. It’s great to be a Bryan Lion!