|Wisconsin Game Day Traditions, the 5th QuarterNavy Midshipmen Game Day Traditions,
Mascots, Nicknames & More
Naval Academy Nickname: Midshipmen
At the Naval Academy, the Midshipmen nickname not only applies to the school's athletic teams, but to all of its
students as well. While the Midshipmen term has a long association with the Academy, it's English roots date
back to the 17th century.
Early uses of the word described men who were stationed in the middle of a ship while on duty and for boys
who served on ships as an apprentice. It was common during the time period for boys as young as seven years
old to work under sea captains in an effort to learn the sailor's trade. The spirit of apprenticeship continued
during the early days of the American Navy when midshipmen trained aboard ships until they were
commissioned as ensigns.
When the Academy was founded in 1845, the Midshipmen term applied to the process of entering the Navy from
civilian life. Congress changed the name of Naval Academy students several times between 1870 and 1902
before finally deciding to return to the original Midshipman title.
Besides Midshipmen, Navy's athletic teams are sometimes referred to as the Mids. The term "Middie's" is
sometimes used, but Academy officials are quick to point out that it is inappropriate.
Naval Academy Mascot: Bill the Goat
While most teams hope they never have a 'goat' on the team, Bill the Goat has been a welcomed member of the
Navy football program since the 19th century. Bill, long a target of Army kidnappers, first filled more of a reserve
mascot role in the animal's early years of serving. But with service deserving of a good conduct medal, he was
called to full-time active duty status.
The goat's special treatment received at the annual Army-Navy game often challenges the VIP status that
admirals and other dignitaries are granted. Instead of riding a 'goat' wagon, bill is often escorted in limousines,
luxury vans and fancy floats to the stadium. When Bill is introduced to the crowd he receives great fanfare, that
ranks just behind the cheers showered upon the Midshipmen players.
Two Navy players elected by the team care for the mascot on
the sidelines. This role typically goes to players that are
unable to play due to injury. The direction that Bill stands has
a special significance at Navy games. Tradition mandates
that the goatkeepers keep the goat pointed towards their
opponent's end zone at all times so that the Navy quarterback
will know where to lead his team.
A costumed goat named Bill also represents the Academy at
sporting events. He travels easier and is less likely to eat the
|Navy's Goat mascot always points toward
the opponents end zone.
The Story Behind Navy's Academy Colors
When you think of Navy uniform colors, the first one likely to come to mind might be the sparkling dress-white
uniforms donning America's sailors aboard a warship. However, the academy reached for different colors
when selections were made for its athletic teams.
If there's one color that would best represent Navy athletics, what would it be? Well, a logical choice would be
Navy Blue, a color first used by the Naval Academy when the class of 1890 first selected it in combination with
the color Gold.
Academy tradition had included each year's class adopting their own colors. The Navy Blue and Gold
combination proved to be so popular that by 1892 it became a permanent part of Navy tradition.
A Naval Academy Must: BEAT ARMY!!!
College football has many great rivalries that are celebrated across the nation. While the likes of
Auburn-Alabama, Florida-Florida State and Michigan-Ohio State might have more of an impact on the
national polls, none possess the storied traditions or have captured the nations attention more that the
annual Army-Navy game. The series began in 1890 and the two service academies have met nearly every
year since they began meeting on a regular basis in 1899.
When most schools were still in the early stages of building support for their football programs, the
Army-Navy game was drawing over 100,000 fans to Chicago's Soldier Field in 1926. The rivalry still rates
national TV exposure towards the end of each regular season.
The expression "Be there with bells on" might be a great way to symbolize several ways that Navy celebrates
sinking their Army foes. The ringing of the Enterprise Bell has been a part ofthe school's tradition since 1950.
The bell that's stationed in front of the Academy's Bancroft Hall, rings loud for observances of Morning Colors
and also during special ceremonies that celebrate Navy scoring a majority of victories over Army in anyone of
the three sports seasons.
Bancroft Hall is also the site for the Gakakuji Bell, which rings after victories over Army. The bell is a replica of
the 1456 casting brought to the United States by Commodore Matthew C. Perry following
his 1854 journey to Japan. The Navy returned the original bell to the people of Okinawa in 1987.
Another Academy landmark that reflects the Army-Navy rivalry is a bronze statue named Tecumseh, that
serves as a tribute to the fierce Shawnee chief that died in 1813. Before any Army game regardless of sport~
Tecmseh gets a fresh coat of war paint. The statue also receives left-handed salutes and is showered with
pennies, two separate offerings for victory.
Navy letterman receive special recognition if they've participated in a victory over Army during their varsity
career. An N-Star is awarded regardless of the sport.
Navy Heisman Winners: These Two Stars Sailed on College Football Highest Seas
Navy football shone brightly in the spotlight in the early 1960s with two of its star players winning college
football's highest individual honor, the Heisman Trophy. Joe Bellino's combined rushing, receiving and
return skills helped Navy steam towards a 9-2 record as the Winchester, Mass. product scored 18
touchdowns on the way to the Orange Bowl.
Roger "The Dodger" Staubach gained Heisman glory following his junior season that saw him lead Navy to
wins over Michigan, Notre Dame and Army en route to 9-2 Cotton Bowl season. Staubach accounted for
nearly 1,900 yards of total offense while completing over 66% of his passes. The Cincinnati, Ohio native
served six years of active duty with the Navy before starting an NFL Hall of Fame career in which he led the
Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl glory.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE WHO'VE SERVED
Navy plays their home football games in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial stadium. The facility was dedicated on
Sept. 26, 1959 when the Midshipmen defeated William & Mary. The stadium seats 30,000 fans and some
memorable moments include President Eisenhower attending a game in 1960 and Pittsburgh's Tony
Dorsett becoming the NCAA's all-time leading rusher in 1976.
A dedication plaque for the stadium serves as a reminder of the Academy's military heritage. It reads: "This
Stadium is dedicated to those who have served and will serve as upholders of the traditions and renown of
the Navy and Marine Corps of the United States. May it be a perpetual reminder that the Navy and Marine
Corps are organizations of men trained to live nobly and serve courageously in peace, champions of our
integrity, defenders of our freedom."
|The Naval Academy's Tecmseh
statue always gets painted the
week of the Army game.
|Navy players display their
patriotism on and off the field