Happy anniversary to the ‘iconic Bull U’

The USF Bull U icon – a green letter U with a gold stripe shaped with horns to look like a bull’s head – beside an older graphic of a bull’s head in a diamond shape.

By PENNY CARNATHAN ’82, USF Advancement

Twenty years ago, USF Athletics put its Bull-head logo out to pasture and took a hard left in adopting the “Bull U.” The U, with its embedded Bull muzzle and horns, proved so popular, it now represents all of USF and has become known as the “iconic Bull U.”

The change dates to 2002, when USF’s then 5-year-old football team sought a new logo to herald its 2003-04 debut in Conference USA. The university’s marketing department gathered more than 100 designs and took them to focus groups composed of alumni, boosters, faculty and students in a yearlong selection process.

“It’s a very important decision and we want to make sure it’s the right one,” then-Associate Athletics Director Tom Veit, ’93, Life Member, told The Tampa Tribune in January 2003. “Our challenge is, unlike pro teams, our logo must represent several sports.”

USF unveiled the winner on July 15, 2003, and launched its new USF Athletics merchandise on Aug. 6, 2003. The iconic U, created by Silverman Group marketing of New Haven, Connecticut, marked a sharp departure from previous designs, which featured illustrations of bulls. 

Fans applauded. 

“It’s a strong logo for a strong team,” Bulls fan David Minter told the Tribune while shopping a special pre-launch sale Aug. 5, 2003. 

Bob Durda, then a buyer for Sports Fan-Attic, predicted widespread love.

“This logo has instant appeal,” he said in 2003. “A lot of people didn’t like the old bull. They thought it looked like a goat.”