Happy 43rd Birthday Big Red! Ya don't look at day over 20! 

Did y'all know Big Red has ties to Kings Island Amusement Park? Yep. Ralph Carey, the WKU student charged with the creation of Big Red had worked at Kings Island with all of the different Hannah-Barabera characters and mascots that lived in Hannah-Barabera land and while there is little resemblance to those characters, Carey obviously had the right experience for the job of building the original Big Red. 

Big Red WKU Shirt

So, why Big Red? It turns out the athletic department at Western Kentucky University had long wanted a mascot that reflected something other than the waving towels that coaching legend E.A. Diddle had popularized as the schools unofficial logo during his tenure at WKU. Diddle would wipe his sweat, twirl the towel, signal with it, throw it. It was an icon that lead to the creation of the first branding with WKU through the red towel logo, but a big red towel mascot on the sidelines? That sure didn't seem too exciting, so Carey was brought on board in 1979 with the task of creating the soon-to-be beloved mascot. He did just that with Big Red officially premiering at Diddle Arena on December 1, 1979 and now 43 years later it is one of the most popular mascots in college sports. 

Of course, no birthday would be complete without a new ware to celebrate Big Red's big day! Slam Dunk Big Red is now available exclusively through Shop Local Kentucky! 

Big Red Western Kentucky Shirt

Shop the entire Big Red Western Kentucky University collection here! 

December 01, 2022 — Shop Local Kentucky