Evolution of the Villanova Wildcats


The Villanova Wildcats basketball program has been around since 1920 and has notched two national titles – most recently in 2016. This private Catholic university was founded in 1842 and has a ton of pride in its basketball team every season. Let’s take a look at the team and how the Wildcat logo has changed over the years.


Wildcat History

The Villanova basketball program got its start in 1920 and was helmed by coach Michael Saxe for its first six seasons. There have been several head coaches since, but some have stood out more than the others. Rollie Massimino, for example, coached the Wildcats for 19 years and led his squad on a magical Cinderella run that led to a national title in 1985. Dubbed one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history, the Wildcats were the lowest seed (8) to win a championship and certainly weren’t expected to upend No. 1 seed Georgetown.  

Nova’s second title run was just a couple of years ago. The university hired Jay Wright to lead the team before the 2001-02 season, and after a few years, Villanova was back in the March dance. They made it to the Final Four in 2009 and again in 2016 – that second time, of course, resulted in the school’s second championship title. They again won their title against a No. 1 seed (North Carolina), but this time, Nova was a No. 2 seed. The title win, however, was just as sweet as the first time.


Logo Evolution

Villanova conducted a contest in 1926 for the entire student body to help choose a mascot. A former football player from Notre Dame, who had recently joined Villanova’s coaching staff, suggested the “Wildcats,” and the name stuck. Nova’s particular mascot most closely resembles the bobcat, and while an actual series of bobcats was used as the school’s live mascot, that notion has since given way to a student wearing a costume.

As the Wildcats, some of their logos have featured a cat prominently. Here’s how their logo has changed over the years.


An early rendition of the Villanova logo makes use of the school’s first letter and a wildcat – this one features a full-bodied bobcat-like creature that has made his way through the letter “V” and displays a prominent snarl. On the left “leg” of the “V,” we find the word “Villanova” spelled out in all caps.


This version of the Villanova logo contains many elements. The “V” appears in the background in berry color, and Villanova is spelled out across the top. Curving below that word, we see Wildcats. And the lower half contains a pretty detailed bobcat, mouth open in a roar, with claws extended.


The current Villanova logo is created. It’s quite simple, but also very striking. Gone are words and bobcats – only a “V” remains. The bulk of the “V” is dark blue, with a lighter blue stripe running through the center. It is outlined with a thick white stripe, with a thinner dark blue stripe around the whole letter.

Gear Up, Nova Nation

Are you heading to the Pavilion (or Wells Fargo Center) for a Nova home game? Make sure you check out all the Villanova swag at Fanatics first and get some sweet, sweet new authentic gear.




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