Northwestern University

GAME DAY TRADITIONS

School Colors: Purple & White
Nickname: Wildcats
Mascot: Willie the Wildcat

WALKER WAY &

Former coach Randy Walker (1954-2006), who led the Wildcats from 1999-2005, provided a huge boost to the morality of the Northwestern football program. The school honored him by naming the road northwest of Ryan Field “Walker Way." Two and a half hours before kickoff, fans line Walker Way, or gather on Randy Walker Terrace inside the stadium overlooking Walker Way, The NUMB forms a tunnel for th... (more)

WILDCAT ALLEY

Two hours before kickoff, head to Wells Field, just north of Ryan Field behind Welsh-Ryan Arena, for a free pregame party open to all ages. Appearances by the NUMB, the cheerleaders and Willie Wildcat are the highlights, as well as free Goose Island beer (two beer vouchers are given to each adult of drinking age for redemption at the beer tent.)... (more)

'WILDCAT' MARCHING BAND (NUMB)

NUMB Traditions The Northwestern University ‘Wildcat’ Marching Band, or NUMB, is comprised of 143 members: 104 wind instruments, 26 percussion, 10 color-guard, a feature twirler and two drum majors. The band has been fronted by the colors of all Big Ten Conference universities since 1948. Under student leadership, the first Unive... (more)

MARCH OF THE STEELMEN & OLD PLUS-FOUR DRILL

At the conclusion of every home football season, NUMB performs the “Old Plus-Four Drill” to the tune of “March of the Steelmen." A tradition since 1928, the 12+ minute drill involves the band making the UN monogram. The Old Plus-Four Drill is also a tribute to the band’s graduating seniors. At the conclusion of the drill, the graduating seniors are introduced individually to the crowd, ... (more)

SCHOOL SONGS

Go! U Northwestern “Go! U Northwestern” was written following a Wildcat (then “Purple”) 1912 win over Indiana. Student Theodore Van Etten was inspired by both the win, and the crowd pleasing Hoosier fight song, so he penned the lyrics on the way home from the game in Bloomington. The song debuted at old Northwestern Field on November 23, 1912 during the NU-Illino... (more)

KEYS AT KICKOFF

This may not seem like a unique tradition, as many schools seem to have begun the ritual of jingling their keys at kickoff. At Northwestern, however, this has been going on for quite a while -- and with a supposed deeper meaning. As Northwestern students rattle their car keys towards the opposing team, they might be saying something to the effect of "one day, you'll be parking my car." [caption... (more)

WILLIE THE WILDCAT & WILDPRIDE SPIRIT SQUAD

The first mascot at Northwestern was a live bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Named “Furpaw,” the bear was driven to the field for every game during the 1923 season. However, after the team’s losing season, Furpaw was deemed bad luck for the team and wasn’t allowed back on campus. The name “Wildcats” came shortly after, when in 1924, following a game against the University... (more)

PURPLE & WHITE CLOCK

During the football season, the clock tower above the Rebecca Crown Center (633 Clark Street, Evanston, IL 60208), turns purple or white depending on the outcome of the game. When the Wildcats ... (more)

LAKE  THE POSTS

Although this tradition no longer exists since the goalposts have been designed to let nothing bring them down, the "lake the posts" is certainly an original one. Starting in 1982, following a rare Wildcat win, students would storm the field, bring down the goal posts and march them a mile down Central Street and toss them into Lake Michigan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2h0c0c3pA... (more)