clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse Is Responsible For The Wildcat?

via <a href=""></a>

Maybe this is common knowledge, and I suppose I could have just connected the dots if I looked hard enough, but I didn't realize that the Wildcat formation apparently had its roots in Upstate New York high school football.  And you can thank Syracuse University for setting the wheels in motion to make it happen.

Deadspin's Drew Magary has mentioned the Wildcat offense and his disdain for it in many a column.  He must've wondered, as I know I have and Kenny Haas has, why exactly it's called the Wildcat (and not the Cougar or the Centipede or the Red-Breasted Robin).  J.P. from Syracuse e-mailed Drew with some historical perspective.

Follow the steps. Paul Pasqualoni gets fired as head coach at Syracuse University and most of his assistants are booted with him. West Genesee, in need of a coach, hires Steve Bush from the unemployment line. Bush comes in, senses what everyone else knows (that Upstate New York football isn't a real sport, but just a way to kill time before we all have to start shoveling snow) and makes the gimmick formation part of his regular offensive playbook. Needless to say, the Wildcat stuns (STUNS) opposing defenses like that scene in Varsity Blues where they run the fucking Oop-dee-ooop.

So, Pasqualoni gets hired in Miami and gets them to bring Bush in as the offensive quality control coach. And this is how the world is introduced to the everyday abortion known as the Wildcat.

West Genesee Wildcats...Aha!  J.P. has some particular dislike for the West Genny athletics program but, that aside, it seems to check out.  I mean, even Wikipedia agrees that Bush is considered one of the origins of the formation.  Though, there's also another possible origin:

Others claim that the offense was created by double-wing guru Hugh Wyatt, a longtime coach in the Pacific Northwest. Wyatt, coaching the La Center (WA) High School Wildcats, published an article in "Scholastic Coach" magazine in 1998, where he explained in detail his offensive system.

My guess is, there's about 300 high school coaches who came up with a scheme similar enough to think they deserve credit for it.  And since at least 40% of them coach at a school where the mascot is a Wildcat...there you go. 

As for why we call it the Stallion...I don't have an F'ing clue.