Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A History Lesson in Tradition: Buzz and the Yellowjackets

Today, we bring back one of our more popular posts in the history of Buzz and the Yellowjackets.

Today at Georgia Tech when a person hears the term "Yellowjackets" they are more than likely to immediately think of the mascot Buzz. But if you go far back enough you will see that the "Yellowjackets" nickname was created many years before our lovable bee jumped into the scene.


The facts are a little hazy regarding the where the exact term "Yellowjackets" came to be in reference to our beloved Institute. In 1905, the Atlanta Constitution first referred to the nickname "Yellowjackets" (all one word) after legendary John Heisman officially declared that "Yellowjackets" was to be the only reference to Georgia Tech that he wanted to see. His reasoning probably came from watching Georgia Tech fans and faculty dress up in yellow coats and jackets in support of their team whoever was playing the University [sic] of Georgia.

In 1906, the first illustrated image of the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets was printed in the Atlanta Journal. The cartoon referenced an upcoming Georgia loss to Georgia Tech:

The First Buzz

There have been two creations of the real life mascot as we know him today.

The first creation was in 1972 by a woman named Judi McNair who made the first costume by hand and performed at home football games. She made her grand entrance into the stadium on top of the Ramblin' Wreck as she was given permission by Tech officials to perform. As far as I could find Ms. McNair was the YellowJacket mascot for only that 1 football season of 1972.

Modern Day Buzz

Seven years later, the more modern day Buzz came to be. In 1979, a student by the name of Richie Bland spent $1,400 on a costume that looked like a Yellow jacket. After the costume was made, Bland decided that he would use it at a football game. The specific game at which this new Buzz was unveiled could not be found, but Bland did not get permission from Tech officials to perform at the game. Rather, he decided to run across the field at a random time. The fans, having no idea that these antics were not an official Tech action, roared in applause and cheers. In 1980, the costumed YellowJacket had been given the name "Buzz Bee" and was given title as an "official mascot of Georgia Tech". Buzz had been born.

Early Buzz.
Courtesy of Georgia Tech Alumni Association

Buzz Today

Today, Buzz is a mischievous character who always seems like he has pure sugar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is an official member of the Georgia Tech cheerleading squad. Because of the demand of time and energy put in to being Buzz, there is more than one student who dons the costume, though there is never two Buzz's at a time. The students who are Buzz keep their identities secret until graduation.

Buzz performs at football and basketball games and makes appearances to various other events as well. He also has the ability to show up to private parties!