UNM Traditions-The Lobo Nickname

Old UNM Football Helmet

A number of legends have arisen over the years as to how The University of New Mexico got "Lobo" as its official nickname. When the university began playing football in 1892, the team was simply referred to as "The University Boys" or "Varsities" to distinguish themselves from the prep school kids.

Lobo Statue

The student body, at least as early as 1917, began to seriously explore the possibilities for both a mascot and a new name for the student newspaper, which was then called simply the "U.N.M. Weekly." Several names for the paper were suggested, including The Rattler, the Sand Devil, the Ki-yo-te and the Cherry and Silver. However, there was no single name that struck a responsive chord among the students and when school opened in the Fall of 1920 the U.N.M. Weekly was still there.

On Sept. 22, 1920, sophomore George S. Bryan, editor of the U.N.M. Weekly and student manager of the football team, was present at a Student Council meeting for the purpose of suggesting that the University teams be given a mascot name as at that time many universities had mascot names for their teams. Bryan suggested Lobo, the Spanish word for wolf, as the nickname. The name was enthusiastically received. The Oct. 1 issue of the student paper said, "The Lobo is respected for his cunning, feared for his prowess, and is the leader of the pack. It is the ideal name for the Varsity boys who go forth to battle for the glory of the school. All together now; fifteen rahs for the LOBOS."

From that beginning, the Lobo nickname has remained with The University of New Mexico for over 70 years.