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About Cosmo

Cosmo the Cougar has been Brigham Young University's beloved mascot for over 60 years! His talents, intelligence, charisma, honor and enthusiasm symbolize BYU standards. For more than half a century, Cosmo has prowled the BYU campus, interacting with students, fans and the community. His positive reputation and strength as a role model grows with every sporting event, promotion and community service he attends and no matter where he ends up, you can always find him repping the white and blue of BYU!

Cosmo's story is remarkable to say the least! Over the years, influenced by extreme events and popularity, he has changed drastically. The more you learn about Cosmo the Cougar, the more you come to know what an amazing mascot he is and why he is recognized as "the mascot in a league of his own".

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[kɑzmə ko͞oɡər]

1. Brigham Young University Mascot
Synonyms: Cosmo, Coz, The Cougar, Mo, Cosmosis Jones, Mr. Cougar, MoMo, Kitty

Derived from Cosmopolitan: Brigham Young University is considered a cosmopolitan university. "Familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures."


In 1923, Brigham Young University selected the cougar as its mascot. Eugene L. Roberts, a coach and faculty member, suggested the cougar because it is native to Utah and it exemplified the traits that he hoped athletes competing for Brigham Young University would have. These traits included strength, agility, grace, quickness, and beauty. In 1925, two cougar cubs (Cleo and Tarbo) were brought to campus to serve as mascots. The cougar kittens were kept on the south side of Temple Hill until 1929 when they managed to break out of their cage, sending out a cry from the faculty, “The cougars are out!”

This incident produced the lyrical chorus of our very own Fight Song written by Clyde D. Sandgren in 1932 - "Rise and shout, the Cougars are out." In 1930, Tarbo died of natural causes and Cleo was sent to a zoo in Salt Lake City. The school has not owned cougars since then, although live cougars were sometimes brought to campus for special occasions. Live cougars were later replaced by Cosmo the Cougar.


On October 15, 1953, Cosmo the Cougar made his first appearance in front of BYU fans, flying into LaVell Edwards Stadium on a parachute. Dwayne Stevenson, the pep chairman of BYU, bought the costume for $73 and persuaded his roommate Daniel T. Gallego to wear it and become the first Cosmo. The name Cosmo derives from the word "cosmopolitan" and was chosen because BYU had recently been selected as a Cosmopolitan school. Cosmo became immediately popular, and since Gallego, many people have worn the suit to become Cosmo.


The first three to suit up as Cosmo the Cougar were Daniel T. Gallego (1953–54), Clive Moon (1954-55), and Ray Pope (1955–56). The first female Cosmo, Peggy Herron Mortensen shared the role with Ray Pope in 1956. To fit in the Cosmo suit, she wore padding and slipped her own shoes inside the ones attached to the suit. BYU president Ernest L. Wilkinson once put on the costume at a pep rally. LaVell Edwards, the legendary football coach for the Cougars, wore the Cosmo costume during the final season basketball game against Utah in 1981.

Since then, there have been many who have suited up. List of Names:


Cosmo's appearance has changed over the years and there is a simple explanation for this. On September 2, 1997, BYU's Athletic Media Relations announced that while hunting Red Tail Hawks (rival Utah's mascot) in Rock Canyon, Cosmo fell 100 feet. Several students saw the fall, however, and fortunately called Utah Valley Search and Rescue, which performed emergency surgery on Cosmo. This included reduction in head size, which allowed Cosmo more range in motion and the ability to perform more daring stunts. Cosmo frequently does flips, walks on stilts, rides motorcycles, and performs slam dunks in order to please the crowd.


This van includes a 1600-watt, 12-speaker stereo system, a variety of specialty lights (on the top), blue neon underflow lights, several sirens, and a cordless public address system and many more accessories. Cosmo's workload of performances at more than 500 functions a year necessitates private transportation. He drives around in the Cosmobile, a van retrofitted for Cosmo's active lifestyle. Every few years, the decal will change to replicate the current BYU football team helmet with decals that represent our very own Cosmo.

The Cosmobile is also the transportation choice of Cosmo's Dunk Team trailer. This trailer is rigged with a hoop that the team will use during parades around Utah County.