Every leap forward is also an opportunity to look back and appreciate the groundbreakers, achievers and innovators that put the University of South Florida on the map. Here's a look back at the traditions that unite us, across generations.


How the Bulls Were Born

With many different early name suggestions, the “Golden Brahman” was selected as the official mascot of USF in November 1962. Students reasoned that, since Florida was a cattle-raising state like Texas, USF needed a mascot comparable to the Texas Longhorns mascot. In the late 1980s, the mascot evolved into the “Bulls.”

Golden Brahmans logo

USF Mascot, Rocky the Bull

Rocky's image was first trademarked in 1974 and re-designed in 1986. Today's Rocky was unveiled in 2003. Rocky is a regular at USF athletic games and other campus and community events. See more of Rocky through the years.

Rocky the Bull at a basketball game


USF has held a campus Homecoming since 1964. Since 1997, USF Homecomings have been scheduled during football season and are called “SuperBull.” The USF campus comes alive each fall during Homecoming week with traditional student and alumni activities.

USF Alumni float during Homecoming Parade

The Stampeding Herd of Thunder

USF's Marching Band, the Herd of Thunder (HOT), first took to the field at the football season home opener with a unique entrance to the field that began as a running “stampede” and the tradition has continued ever since.

A close-up on members of the Herd of Thunder

"Go Bulls!" Hand Symbol

First started as a good luck symbol for basketball free-throw shots, the “Go Bulls!” hand symbol is now used as the premier symbol of USF cheering, greetings and overall identity.

Students on campus do the "Go Bulls" hand symbol

Scoring Celebration

There is nothing more exciting than to see the USF Bulls football team score! When they do, the USF Cheerleaders acknowledge the feat. One cheerleader does one pushup for every point atop an elevated board held up by the other cheerleaders. The USF Sun Dolls do concurrent kicks - one kick for each point.

Cheerleaders encouraging fans to stand up

Bull Market

A decades-old tradition, the USF Market's original venue was in the mall behind the University Center, which was eventually rebuilt and renamed the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. Today the market is back where it belongs-- in the beautiful MLK Plaza behind the new Marshall Student Center. Every Wednesday during the fall and spring terms, the market fills with students, staff and faculty eager to find a bargain, eat lunch and catch up with friends and colleagues.

Bull Market happening outside the Marshall Student Center

USF Week

Established when former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio declared April 9th to be USF Day in 2010, the one-day celebration has morphed into a week-long celebration known as USF Week. It includes a number of events celebrating USF pride such as the Ultimate Bull Talent Show, Rocky's Birthday Bash, the University Lecture Series, Bullstock and many more. USF Week is a celebration of the institutions' rich history and its community.

Rocky and students celebrate USF Week