Bananas, The Black Bear


Bananas, The Black Bear

The black bear has been the mascot of the University of Maine since 1914.
Jeff, a black bear cub who was found on the slopes of Mt. Katahdin in that year, was loaned to the university by Old Town police chief O.B. Fernandez, who hoped that the beast might bring good luck to the ailing football team.

Jeff made his debut at a rally in preparation for the Colby game, and as he entered the auditorium, the surprised crowd applauded enthusiastically. Thinking it the only proper thing to do, Jeff gratefully stood on his head; the crowd went "bananas!"

Maine went on to whip Colby 31-6, and Maine has been going "bananas" for Black Bears ever since. Former track and cross country captain Lloyd E. Houghton '12 presented the university with its own black bear cub the following year, and, remembering Jeff's enthusiastic welcome, suggested the cub be named Bananas.

At least 15 different black bears carried on the name "Bananas" until the practice of having live mascots was banned after the death of "Cindy Bananas" in 1966.

In 1969, the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity began providing a "human Bananas" as a service to the university, and they continue to do so today. Bananas was recently given a "new look" and was unveiled just before kickoff to a raucous crowd of Maine fans at Alfond Stadium prior to the first home football game of the 2004 season.

Bananas entertains at University of Maine athletic contests and other University special events, and also takes part in a variety of community activities and events. Additional support has been provided by the Graduate M Club and the Maine General Alumni Association.

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Bananas IV ushers in the new Bananas at the 2004 Football Home Opener

The torch is passed to the new Bananas

Bananas shakes it with the Maine Cheerleaders

Bananas leads the Bears onto the field in style

Bananas leads the charge onto Morse field

Bananas Helps Honor Jamie Cassidy as her #24 is added to Maine's retired numbers

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