New University Mascot Unveiled

By Clara Miles, MA ’05
February 22, 2014

During pre-game festivities for the Bradley men’s basketball game against Loyola University, Chicago on February 22, the University introduced its new gargoyle mascot —Kaboom! — with an elaborate pyrotechnics display featuring flashing lights, loud sounds and smoke.

Modeled after The Thinker — one of the four gargoyles sitting atop the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and watching over campus — Kaboom! fills a vacancy that has existed since Bradley’s previous mascot, the bobcat, disappeared in 2000.

The mascot's name Kaboom! originated with Hall of Fame Voice of the Braves Dave Snell, who has used the term to energetically describe slam dunks during Bradley men’s basketball games since the late 1970s. However, the descriptor also can be used to emphasize success across the entire athletic department, in classrooms, and many other aspects of the Bradley Experience.

Highlights from Kaboom!'s Premiere Game

Meet the Braves: Kaboom!

Considered an ambassador for the University, Kaboom! will welcome visitors as well as be present at home athletics events, campus activities and various community events. The mascot also is available for public appearances throughout the Peoria area; visits may be scheduled by calling the Department of Athletics at 309-677-2671 or by submitting an Appearance Request form.

While the University is unveiling a new mascot, the Braves nickname will remain as it has since former baseball/men’s basketball/football coach and athletic director A.J. Robertson determined too many schools used the Indians nickname and wanted something more distinctive. In the early 1990s, however, the school removed all Native American imagery in reference to its athletics teams while introducing the bobcat.

The desire to develop a new mascot arose during the athletic department’s re-branding process in 2012. Research revealed a desire by the school’s many constituents to explore the introduction of a mascot to represent the campus-wide community.  More extensive research suggested the gargoyle as the most popular option. Working with the Joe Bosack Graphic Design Company and Street Characters Inc., Kaboom! is now a reality.

More information about Kaboom!, including an introductory video and a personal narrative as told by the mascot, is available at Individuals can follow Kaboom! on Facebook, and Twitter, where it interacts with other mascots from the Missouri Valley Conference.

Merchandise featuring Kaboom! is available at the Bradley Bookstore and the team store in the Renaissance Coliseum, and may be purchased during the last men’s home game, against Wichita State on February 25, at the booth behind Section 1. Check back for updates on additional items that will become available for purchase online in the near future.