Way back when Rutgers was known as Queen’s College, the athletic teams were referred to as the Queensmen.
However, in 1925, the Chanticleer took over as the school’s official mascot.
The Scarlet Knight wasn't always the face of Rutgers. When the University was known as Queen's College, teams were referred to as "Queensmen." Starting in 1925, you could find a chanticleer, on the sidelines of football games officially serving as the school mascot. #CFB150 pic.twitter.com/06MspLtXBO— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) April 10, 2019
Famously, a Chanticleer is a character from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century collection, “The Canterbury Tales.” The Chanticleer is the protagonist of “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” and is a cock of the walk, prized for his crowing abilities, who gets frisky with a hen before outsmarting a hungry fox.
If that doesn’t scream college, I don’t know what does…
While clearly those involved with Queen’s College, were not sophisticated and familiar with a literary classic, they viewed the mascot as a common chicken… even though the Chanticleer is a fighting rooster.
Despite the distaste for the Chanticleer, it remained the mascot for around 30 years.
OH MY GOD! PUT THE HEAD BACK ON!
In the early 1950’s the school began a search for a new mascot, to kick the bird to the curb. Following a campus-wide selection process, the Knight was chosen.
Shortly thereafter in 1955, the Scarlet Knight became the official mascot of the school.
The color of Scarlet, originated when it was proposed by The Targum, the school’s newspaper in 1869. Scarlet was chosen as it is a striking color and because a good scarlet ribbon is easily obtained.
The student body wanted the school to settle on the orange instead, to honor the Dutch heritage of Rutgers. However, an orange flag was hard to find in the New Brunswick area.
So obviously, you have to give up, because there is no other place in the world to get an orange flag.
Luckily, the student’s laziness paid off, as the Dutch Prince of Orange used red, not orange in his family coat of arms. The school then became one of the first colleges in the US to have an official school color, when the school adopted scarlet in 1900.
Such a cock-tease...
While it resembles a chicken, I still think the Chanticleer would be a sick mascot. Coastal Carolina’s Chanticleer is named, Chauncey and if that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is…
Their mascot is actually pretty sweet and while there is some white within the beak area of the mascot, it is not clearly teeth, which I appreciate, because birds don’t have teeth…
And while it has nothing to do with Rutgers, or mascots, I think it’s important to revisit the infamous Coastal Carolina football coaches rant…
Thank you David Bennett, you are a treasure…
Henry, the Scarlet Knight, or Sir Henry, if you’re nasty, isn’t an awful mascot.
But he’s not a great one either.
His official bio lists him as being ‘Super Tall,’ ok, vague much? His weight is private and he’s a regular Peter Pan, saying he will never grow up.
He’s also a wannabe Jersey Shore cast member, as he enjoys long walks around the shore and flexing in the mirror. There is no mention of the gym, tanning or laundry, or t-shirt time, but I can only imagine he partakes in all of those things.
Henry’s facial features are detailed with a scowl-ish facial expression, or is it a constipated look? No doubt he will need a mouth guard, with how often he is clenching his jaw and gritting his teeth.
His armor is scarlet (obvi), and his helmet plume is orange and while, which must be a nod to Dutch heritage.
One thing I thought that was very odd about Henry is the fact that he only has four digits on his hands, which is odd, because I am assuming that he is a human knight, so why not have the normal five digits?
However, he used to have five, so I don’t know what gives?
Rutgers also has a knight in scarlet armor that rides a horse, which is pretty bad ass, but it cannot hold a flame to the Black Knight...
A lack of diversity is a bad thing...? Err no?
Back in 2015 the Rutgers University Student Assembly passed a bill to support ethnic and gender diversity by adding additional mascots to create a more diverse offering of mascots.
However, here we are in 2020 and there are no additional diverse Scarlet Knights... so I guess it wasn’t as THAT big of a deal...