WHAT IS A DUHAWK?
The "Duhawk" tradition dates back to 1924 when Loras College was called Columbia College. The Columbia football team, under the tutelage of head coach Eddie Anderson, was just coming off a win over the Wisconsin School of Mines (later UW-Platteville), followed by a stirring 7-3 victory over the then-powerful Kohawks of Coe College. Columbia would next travel to Michigan to face the mighty University of Detroit. In a preview story for the upcoming game, the Detroit Free Press focused on Columbia's heralded win over the Kohawks. At the time, Columbia did not have a nickname, so the Free Press sports writer took the liberty of referring to the Columbia gridmen from Dubuque as the Dubuque Hawks, and later in the story the "Duhawks." The name caught on and the Detroit Free Press became the author of this controversial moniker.
The following year, the Columbia Department of Athletics sponsored a contest to all students to come up with a "snappy" nickname for the varsity football team.
"Duhawk" was deemed "unsatisfactory, because it is imitating Coe too closely and, moreover, something absolutely original on the part of a Columbia student is desired." So, with a $5 prize reserved for the winner, the contest was opened to the student body.
The judges of the contest narrowed the list of submitted nicknames to 15 choices - Mariners, Rebuquers, Colts, Centaurs, Comets, Bobcats, Panthers, Rockets, Terriers, Eagles, Spartans, Sentinels, Bearcats, Dragons and Pilots. But the name "Duhawk" was not on the ballot.
The winner was...well no one's really sure. Nothing more was ever said on the subject. The following year however, in the second issue of the school newspaper, a picture of the football team was featured with the caption, "1926 Columbia Duhawks." It is interesting to note that the head coach of that 1926 team was Elmer Layden, one of Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."
However, no matter whom the coach was, the "Duhawk" was here to stay.
DUHAWK FIGHT SONG
Hail Loras Varsity
Cheer them along the way
Onward to victory
We will win this game today
Let's hear a cheer for the varsity
Long may they reign supreme
Fight 'til the echoes ring
For the glory of the team
PURPLE & GOLD
From virtually the beginning of intercollegiate athletics at Loras, the school's student-athletes have worn purple and gold. Loras athletes of the early 1900s were referred to as simply "the Purple & Gold." Although the colors deviate from the official Loras Coat of Arms colors of red, silver and blue, the purple and gold colors of the athletic teams became such a hallmark at Loras that the college yearbook chose the name
"Purgold" for its first publication in 1924.
In the early 1970s the trend changed slightly. Loras teams started replacing the purple with a dark navy blue. When women's athletics began at Loras in 1975, the women wore navy blue uniforms with gold and white trim. Even the letter jackets were a dark navy with a bright gold "L". The lone holdout at that time was the Loras football team, which continued to wear purple and gold. But in the late 1970s the trend began moving back to purple, and by 1980 all of the Loras teams were once again wearing Purple & Gold.
Today, most Loras student-athletes wear a rich, royal purple with a bright, traditional gold; however, Loras football has been decked out in Purple and Old Gold since 1980. Since that year, Duhawk football teams have worn solid, old gold helmets and pants with no stripes or logos, similar to the uniforms worn by the University of Notre Dame football team. Football wears purple jerseys at home and white jerseys on the road.