What’s the Real Reason WMU’s Mascot is a Bronco?
Western Michigan wasn't always the Broncos. When and why did they change their mascot?
WMU has an incredibly long and rich history. The university was established in May 1903. The university did not use the Broncos as its moniker in the first nearly four decades of its existence. They were the Hilltoppers until they became the Broncos in 1939 according to CollegeFootballHistory.com,
Prior to the current Bronco nickname (Broncos), WMU’s athletic teams went by the nickname “Hilltoppers,” reflecting the institution’s original Prospect Hill campus. The moniker often led to confusion with other schools that had a similar nickname and became outdated when the University expanded beyond its hilltop confines.
Even though Western Michigan University has been the Broncos for the last 84 years, Buster is only half that age. The Broncos mascot Buster was introduced in 1981 which makes him 42 years old according to Wikipedia,
Buster Bronco is the official Mascot of Western Michigan University athletic teams. "Born" in 1981, Buster is an official member of the WMU Cheer Team. Along with cheering at Bronco athletic events, Buster also makes appearances at community schools, hospitals, libraries and parades.
Buster has gone thru many changes over the years. The mascot was virtually the same from 1991 to 2017. The latest evolution of Buster in 2017 has stuck around over the last six years.
You probably don't know a hilarious fact about the Bronco moniker change involving a reward. John Gill, who was the assistant football coach and a graduate of WMU was the person that came up with the Bronco idea back in the 1930s. He was rewarded $10 for the name that has been with the university for nearly 85 years so far according to CollegeFootballHistory.com.
Another Michigan college fun fact. Did you know that the Michigan State University football coach is the 3rd highest paid in the U.S.?