Ralph Carey, a public relations major, became involved in the search for a new mascot by chance. Gene Keady, head basketball coach, was looking for a replacement for Mr. Hilltopper, an unsuccessful mascot introduced in 1978. Carey, who had worked at Kings Island amusement park, suggested "Big Red," offered a few sketches and was selected to construct the new mascot.
Big Red made his debut on December 1, 1979. Unlike Mr. Hilltopper, Carey's lovable character is now a part of the foundation, and the embodiment, of the WKU Spirit.
Western Kentucky University, Mascots, Big Red