Evolution of the Oklahoma Sooners


The University of Oklahoma got its start in 1890 when the first governor of the Territory of Oklahoma, George W. Steele, approved the establishment of a university in the city of Norman. Its basketball program has yet to clinch an NCAA championship, but the team is headed back to the dance this March in hopes of making a run. Let’s take a look at how the OU logo has changed over time.


Boomer Sooner History

The Oklahoma basketball program came into being in 1907 when men’s basketball became a varsity sport under their first head coach, D.C. Hall. Their first season was a winner, as they went 4-3 (with two of those wins coming against Oklahoma A&M, better known today as Oklahoma State University).

Since then, the team has had its up and downs but has appeared in the NCAA Tournament fairly often over the last four decades. They reached their first Final Four in the very first NCAA Tournament (1939), and have reached the national semifinals (aka the Final Four) four additional times, most recently in 2016 under current head coach Lon Kruger.


Logo Evolution

The University of Oklahoma’s athletic teams are known as the Sooners. This term is steeped in Oklahoma history, as the Land Run of 1889 allowed would-be settlers to hustle by wagon or horseback to stake a claim for available land. A “sooner” was someone who entered the Oklahoma District before the designated time, often hiding in the area and popping up to claim the land.

As can be imagined, people didn’t care for these so-called sooners, but when the University of Oklahoma adopted this name for its sports teams in 1908, this helped changed the public’s opinion of the term and eventually led to Oklahoma pride. It’s no wonder the earliest rendition of the Sooners logo features a callback to those early Oklahoma years.


This early Sooners logo harkens back to the state’s first settlers – it’s a covered wagon emblazoned with “Sooners.” While the school doesn’t stick with this logo, the wagon remains a part of their history as a mascot called the Sooner Schooner (which roars out onto the field after a score at football games).


The covered wagon is abandoned in 1967 and a crimson, interlocked, and italicized “OU” appears as the university’s school logo.  


The logo gets an upgrade in 1982. Color and basic overall design remain the same, but a highlight is added to give the logo a bit more punch.


The logo introduced in 1996 is the one that remains today. The “O” and “U” remain interlocked, but they’re no longer highlighted or italicized.

Oklahoma Represent

Looking forward to watching your Sooners in the NCAA Tournament? Good news – Fanatics has all the crimson and cream gear you could ever dream of, so make sure you’ve got the right threads as you cheer on your boys.




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