Loyola Chicago’s nickname is the Ramblers, which is a very good nickname. But its mascot, which you can see in the above photo, is a wolf named LU. It’s a nod to St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits (his family shield shows two wolves flanking each side of a kettle, a symbol of nobility and generosity).
LU is a perfectly fine college mascot, but there’s a certain disconnect between the school’s Ramblers nickname and its wolf mascot. I think of wolves as more of a stalking animal, not a rambling animal. The only solution, then, is for Loyola to turn back to its former mascot, which was a hobo:
Bo Rambler rambled his way into our hearts in 1982, according to the school’s Digital Special Collections department, and lasted only until 1990, a perfect, eight-year melding of nickname and mascot. As told recently by the Chicago Tribune’s Ted Gregory, he was the creation of athletic department employees Tom Cooney and Marty Hawkins, who were trying to foster interest in a men’s basketball program that was known for its 1963 national title and little else.
“They would create a mascot, the two decided, and he would be a hobo, which aligned with Loyola’s history of roaming across the country to play football games in the 1920s, a practice that prompted a newspaper reporter to coin the school’s nickname, Ramblers,” Gregory wrote.
That idea became Bo Rambler, who would wear a ragged suit and a scruffy beard on his foam head. He carried a suitcase.
“We thought it would be fun,” Cooney said, “and we wanted to bring fun to the games.”
But Bo Rambler also had an edge, as hobos sometimes do, making inappropriate gestures at cheerleaders and referees and getting into brawls with other mascots. This, along with the fact that the school’s killjoy athletic director thought a vagrant perhaps was not the best reflection of a school’s athletic programs, led to his demise. In 1990, Bo was replaced by LU, the change happening at halftime of a basketball game.
Gregory notes that Bo still has his adherents, and the mascot’s five-year-old Twitter feed has gotten a lot of attention of late as the Ramblers soared to the Final Four.
According to a 1992 Chicago Tribune story, the school brought Bo Rambler back for some sort of “battle of the mascots” competition during halftime of a game against Northern Illinois. A group of college mascots teamed together to take on professionals such as Ronald McDonald, the Keebler Elf and — in a breathtaking display of sheer 1992-ness — the Noid of Dominos Pizza infamy (if you recall, he was to be avoided). Bo returned from his forced retirement “to give the collegians depth,” which he certainly must have done, but was again given the bum’s rush afterward, never to be seen again.
“I would absolutely love to see Bo come back,” John Kyle, a 1992 Loyola graduate and the last person to don the Bo Rambler costume in an official capacity, told Gregory. “He was the best mascot that ever was.”