The Panther evolution

The Panther evolution

From his debut in the 1930s, to the highly popular TC of today, UNI’s mascot has always been the school’s biggest fan. Take a walk through TC’s story and learn the background of “The Cat.”


Burl Berry, ʼ32, submitted the winning entry to name the school’s athletic mascot, the Purple Panthers.

Burl Berry


The three-dimensional panther mascot made its debut at a basketball game.

1957 Panther Mascot


The panther was nicknamed Pepi Panther.

Panther Paw


Student John Shannon, ʼ63, took over the program and personally funded and constructed a new panther to resemble other state schools.

John Shannon

EARLY 1960s

Pepi began appearing at other events outside of athletic games.

EARLY 1970s

The panther took on another nickname, Rocky, because of its resemblance to a raccoon.


The Pink Panther made its debut when UNI graduate Barry Delp, ʼ80, took the helm of the mascot program.

Foam finger


Chuck Patten, ʼ61, wrestling head coach, allowed the Pink Panther to amp up the crowd with the mascot’s first pre-game introduction. Production included house lights off with a single spotlight on the mascot as the Pink Panther theme played.

Pink Panther Mascot

EARLY 1980s

The new Black Panther was debuted by Steve Lorenz, ʼ88.

1980s Panther Mascot


Lorenz began to sign autographs as The Cat, and later shortened it to TC.

TC  Signature


TC received a few makeovers throughout the decade, finally deciding on a slimmer, more athletic design. TC began to increase appearances throughout campus and the greater UNI community.

1990s TC panther


TC made his first-ever appearance at the UCA College Mascot Championships and placed 12th.


TC finished seventh overall at the UCA College Championships.


TK (The Kitten), TC’s sister, made her inaugural appearance at the Homecoming football game.

TC & TK - the introduction of TK


TC rappelled off a building to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and TC won the MVC’s Mascot Madness tournament.

TC Rappelled off a building to support Ronald McDonald House Charities


TC and TK visited the Mascot Hall of Fame.

Panther Pom Poms


The Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau announced a project called “Panthers on Parade.” This is a project to bring statues of TC decorated by local artists to Cedar Falls. Making TC not only UNI’s mascot, but a symbol for the Cedar Valley.

TC Panther standing next to a TC Statue