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Big Ten Countdown: 14 - Herbie, Lil' Red and the Spirit Squad

Herbie Husker 2011 Spring Game
Herbie Husker 2011 Spring Game

There have actually been quite a few mascots at the University of Nebraska including Corncob, Huskerman, Mr. Cornhead and Harry Husker. However, most people know of Herbie Husker and Lil' Red.

Herbie Husker is the oldest current mascot of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's sports teams. Herbie was created by Lubbock, Texas, artist Dirk West and first appeared on the cover of the Husker's media guide in 1974. Soon after, he became the university's official mascot.

Herbie has gone through a few makeovers, the most recent coming before the 2003 college football season. Until 2003 he was dressed in denim coveralls, a red cowboy hat emblazoned with a large N, and has an ear of corn in his pocket. After the 2003 makeover, he now dons a red cowboy hat, red workshirt, blue jeans and workboots. This was done to update the overall appearance of the state's agricultural workers and general public. During halftime of the 2006 Capital One Bowl, Herbie was named National Mascot of the year for 2005.

Lil' Red is one of two mascot at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's athletics teams. Lil' Red is the newest mascot being created for the 1993 season to appeal younger Husker fans and Nebraska Women’s Volleyball by Dr. Barbara Hibner after a state wide contest. He can be seen on the sidelines of a Nebraska football game at Memorial Stadium, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center during basketball games and volleyball games.

Lil' Red has won two major awards with the first won being the national championship at the NCA National Mascot Competition in 1999. The second one was an introduction into the 2007 Mascot Hall of Fame, which selected its winners by an online vote.

Nebraska’s mascots are two of the most popular figures around the community, as well as the state, and the pair usually generate quite a bit of energy wherever they appear.


The mascots were a part of the spirit squad and any student can tryout. In addition to the mascots, the university of Nebraska Spirit Squad consists of the Cheer team and Dance team (aka the Scarlets). The cheer team has been around since while the Scarlets were organized in 1992.

Another favorite of all Nebraska fans, the Scarlet Dance Team brings exciting performances to the sideline and center court at a variety of Husker sporting events.

This talented group of women is a staple of the Husker Game Day experience. Along with occupying the sidelines on football Saturdays, the Scarlets light up the court and HuskerVision screens at Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball games with incredible routines, dazzling choreography and astonishing grace.

The Scarlets were founded in 1992 and  have become one of the teams that form part of the whole Spirit Squad along with the Cheer Squad and the mascots (Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red). 

1903 - The Innocents Society took charge of "rooting " at Nebraska Football Games and founded the Yell Squad with two student male members.

1917 - The first three female cheerleaders join the Yell Squad.

1921 - Innocents Society voted to discontinue female cheerleaders.

1942 - First unofficial female to enter cheerleading, she cheered one game.

1944 - Since 1921, first official year for female cheerleaders.

1950 - Only male members on the Yell Squad this year.

1963 - Pom Squad started to wear the red and white stripped sweaters.

Present, since 1903 more than 700 students have been members of the Yell Squad, Pom Squad, Coed Squad or Cheer Squad.  Today, 18 female members continue this tradition of "rooting" for the Huskers and serve as ambassadors for the University of Nebraska.

There's that "rooting" thing again. I find it interesting that there are currently no men on the team. Not too long ago (late '90s) we had male cheerleaders. I'm not sure what happened to that but maybe one of the readers can shed some light on that subject.

One last thing. I'll leave you with a clip of the scarlets. "No honey, I wasn't watching the dance team. Yes honey, you're much prettier than they are..."