Shades of Blue…

Mileposts in Creighton Athletics
Evolution of a Mascot: Billy Bluejay
History of Billy Bluejay
“Billy Bluejay” is the official mascot of the Creighton University athletics department.
The Bluejays were originally depicted by a “birdwatcher’s bluejay,”

but that was changed in 1941 when Joseph P.Murphy,
a Creighton alumnus, designed the current version of Billy, one with a more
human stance and expression.
Prior to 1924, Creighton teams were referred to as the“Hilltoppers,” but that name lost favor because at least six other teams in the country also used the same nickname.
The Omaha Bee assisted the University’s Athletic Board and Alumni Association in finding
a new nickname by asking readers to submit possibilities.
After reviewing 200 entries, the Athletic Board decided upon “Bluejays”
because of the school’s colors, blue and white.
Today, Creighton remains the only NCAA Division Iathletics program known officially as the
Photo Montage

• Billy the Bluejay Statue (Fall 2002). IRHG, along with CSU, requested the administration consider the possibility of constructing a mascot statue in front of the new soccer complex. With the efforts of these two organizations, this statue will serve to promote school spirit and foster new traditions on the Creighton campus for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Bluenotes – on Billy

now how does that old cheer go… something like??
Here we go Bluejays, here we go.
Here we go Bluejays, here we go

We are the Bluejays, here we go.

Mighty, mighty Bluejays, here we go.
… and so forth.

At Creighton University, wayyyy back in 1924, the Hilltoppers became the Bluejays
Please note that our spelling of Bluejays, is supposedly an intentional misspelling of the ornithographer’s
“Blue Jay”. They used a drawing of a real bird (a birder’s drawing) to render our new mascot until 1941, when Billy (as he is now known) was hatched. It appears that Billy has always ‘Broken the mold” so to speak. The Jays vs Kansas poster above is from 1930, and shows a depiction of a birders Jay.

1) Name Billy Bluejay (misspelled name – commonly seen as Blue Jay)

2) Creighton’s Jay has sported a yellow/golden Beak and Legs from at least the 1960’s, if not from his creation
in 1941. (Cyanocitta cristata has a grayish to black beak and legs)

3) Billy is in a constant state of agitation, anger, arousal, or consternation; as his peak is perpetually erect, his fists are balled, and he is in his fighter’s stance.

4) The 60’s -80’s had Billy with a large paper mache head, with a very mean/stern-looking expression. Reports had it that children were afraid to take photos or to pose with him. The current rendition of Billy is suitably less menacing and much more kid friendly.

5) Billy has a great trainer or fitness guru, as he has become more svelte and trim over the years…the Jack Lalanne of mascots.

6) Billy graced center court at the Civic for an eternity. He has been working out and is poised for his debut at the CLC Thunderdome/CLink/Phone booth. (Suggestion: rather than squeeze a full pic of Billy, use an enlarged 3/4 profile of his head-face, see above) This was done on a ballcap a few years’ back. Very impressive and the artist can enliven/bring out Billy’s classic expression.

7) There have been at least 4 Official iterations, versions, depictions of Billy over the years. There have been numerous unofficial depictions, takeoffs, situational and scenario driven versions for cartoons, t-shirts, posters, and other related sports paraphernalia.

In the mid-seventies, when ROTC was co-located with Athletics in the Old Gym; a.k.a. the Vinardi Center, there was a ‘Woody Woodpecker-ish”
looking Basketball Billy, feverishly dribbling a basketball across the wall above the double doors leading into the upstairs gym.(He’s still there, under an inch of paint – waiting to be rediscovered, by portable x-ray). Basketball Billy was IMO one of the best ever renditions of our guy. The links below show possible renditions of bluejays… the bird ( was potentially for the MLB Toronto team) and the bird are 2 of the better bluejay depictions I have seen.

The Rivalart and Clipartof renderings are too cartoonish and action figure oriented for CU usage, IMO.

** Photo Credits: Creighton University, CU Archives,,, Yahoo Image Search, Google Image Search. Wikipedia Image Search.

Every now and then we should reflect on our journey…sometimes it is necessary to go Back – and touch the stones where we came up and over our personal Jordan. I miss Beal’s Grill! (God Bless Walter Beal and Howard Fiedler, and the Chief.) I miss Creighton.