Skip to main content Skip to footer

Evolution of Will D. Cat

In 1926, a contest was conducted involving the entire university, to adopt a mascot for Villanova. Edward Hunsinger, a former All-American defensive end at Notre Dame, hit upon the nickname "Wildcats." Hunsinger was nicknamed the "Little General" of the legendary "Four Horsemen" and he had recently been added to Villanova's football staff as the assistant coach.

The name Wildcats refers to a wide variety of feral felines such as the bobcat, caracal, and lynx. Villanova's Wildcat most closely resembles the bobcat, which is found in the Southwest part of the United States. The term Wildcats is meant to convey the image of an animal that is successful in its quest to survive using its ferocious attitude, speed, agility, and alertness. The spirit of the Wildcat is embodied in all of our athletic teams.

Until the late 1970s the Villanova women's athletic teams were often referred to as the "Wildkittens." For a short period during the late 1970's and early 1980's the word "cat" was added to the name of the individual sports: "Trackcats," "Watercats," and "Polocats." Since then the nickname "Wildcat" has been universally used for all Villanova's athletic teams.

In 1930, 1945, 1947, and 1949 Villanova acquired a wildcat that was kept in a cage on campus at the Fieldhouse and appeared at both home and away Villanova football games. Each of the cats was named Count Villan. In 1945, Marine Private Bob Austin and Apprentice Seaman Clyde Cobb were in charge of the bobcat. Count Villan II, the cat of 1945, was feisty towards its caretaker. Behavior became a perennial problem with the cats; as they were caged in the Fieldhouse, paraded around in front of large crowds, and unaccustomed to the cold weather. The passing of Count Villan IV in 1950 drew the period of the live bobcat mascot to a close. Instead of a live animal, college officials then decided that a student would wear a costume of a wildcat and be the official mascot.

Since the adoption of the "costume-cat," Will D. Cat has expanded his horizons. Originally attending solely football games, Will now makes appearances at all women's and men's home basketball games (along with all postseason tournaments and select away games), select games from other sports teams on campus and other on campus and community events. To further sharpen his skills, Will attends mascot camps and competitions, including UCA Mascot Nationals in Florida.

Will D. Cat is the mascot for Villanova University and he is always looking to make friends, so if you see him on campus, in the community, or at a Villanova sporting event make sure to say hi and get a photo!