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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

History of the Cardinal Bird: Cardinal Bird Head, 1985-present

A history of the evolution of the University of Louisville's athletics mascot, known as the Cardinal Bird or Louie. Covers the development of the costume used for in-person appearances as well as the Cardinal Bird's depiction in print.

Cardinal Bird Head Logo

Around 1985, the Cardinal Bird's head began to be used as a logo on its own.


Initially, the head mirrored the head on the "full" mascot.

Cardinal Bird head logo, 1985
Image credit: logo used in "Basketball cards," 1985-86, Archives & Special Collections, University of Louisville.



 The image above is from the 1985 basketball media guide. For comparison, the image below is from the program for the UofL-Southern Mississippi basketball game, February 24, 1988.

Cardinal Bird mascot, 1988
Image credit: Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi Official Game Program [basketball], February 24, 1988, Archives & Special Collections, University of Louisville


In 2000, the university announced "enhanced athletic marks."  

Cardinal Bird head logo, black and white, 2000The black lining around his beak and eye was streamlined and his head feathers took on a more aerodynamic appearance. The shape of his beak was also modified slightly. 

An alternate version, with a wing, was included in the new trademarked logos. 

Cardinal Bird head logo with wing, 2001
Image credit (both logos): University of Louisville 2001-02 Basketball Guide, Archives & Special Collections, University of Louisville