Showing School Spirit
November 25, 2009
Go to any athletic event at Brigham Young University and you will hear students cheering on their beloved Cougars. You will also hear them attempting to demoralize the opposing team with creative chants and yells.
Athletics was introduced to Brigham Young University by Benjamin Cluff, Jr. in 1891. Baseball was the first sport played at the young institution and was followed by football (1896), track and field (1899), and basketball (1900). Cluff had become convinced that athletics was a vital part of university life while attending the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He felt that they strengthened school spirit. He also felt that school yells were an appropriate way to demonstrate that school spirit.
Early students attempted to institutionalize the yells and cheers utilized at early athletic events by producing Yell books with detailed on instructions on how to perform the yells and the words to each of them. The University Archives is home to numerous Yell books from the early 20th century that provided young Cougars with appropriate yells and cheers to use at athletic events. The images below are of the cover of an early Yell book and the first page of another. Note the detailed instructions on how to perform the yells.
These materials and others can be found in UA 330 Yells and songs of Brigham Young University, 1900-1960 in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections (1130 HBLL) at Brigham Young University.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.