Golden Bears

In 1895, the University of California track & field team was the dominant power on the West Coast and decided to challenge several of the top teams in the Midwest and East on an eight-meet tour that is now credited by many historians as putting Cal athletics onto the national scene. As a symbol of the University, Regent Arthur Rodgers, class of 1872, commissioned a blue silk banner emblazoned with a golden grizzly bear, the symbol of the state of California. The banner was carried by the team on its successful tour, which saw Cal win five of the eight competitions. Cal athletic fans were so ecstatic over the team’s performance that Professor Charles Mills Gayley was inspired to write the song “The Golden Bear.” Cal’s athletic teams have been known as the Golden Bears ever since.