The University of North Carolina Mascot: Rameses the Ram

Go Tar Heels!

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prides itself on being the first state school to open in the nation. After being chartered in 1789, the university opened its doors to the first class of students in 1795. UNC was the only institution to award specialized degrees to the rising generation of the 18th century.

The university is widely known for its unusual nickname – the Tar Heels. According to UNC officials, the school’s nickname (which also applies to all North Carolina citizens) can be traced back to two stories. First dating back to the Revolutionary War, it was logged that North Carolinians would place tar in the rivers to immobilize British troops. The second story stems from the Civil War era when soldiers threatened retreating comrades with sticking tar on their boots – forcing them to stay in battle.

No matter the story behind the moniker, students and faculty alike represent their nickname with pride. There to spread this pride is team mascot Rameses the Ram, a rapturous ram that hypes up Tar Heel fanatics at major sporting events on campus.

Rameses the Ram

While the use of a ram for a mascot may seem unusual for a team nicknamed the “Tar Heels,” #TarHeelNation nevertheless views the four-legged headbutter as their glorious mascot. The ram came into play in 1924 after head cheerleader Vic Huggins had decided the university needed a mascot to represent the face of UNC. During the search for a new symbol, Huggins recalled the school’s 1922 football squad, which achieved a 9-1 record that season. Star fullback Jack Merritt was frequently referred to as the “Battering Ram” for his aggressive play style. This unique title caught Huggins attention and influenced the cheerleader to order UNC’s first mascot from Texas for a mere $25!

The first Rameses was present for the UNC-VMI game in 1924 – a time when the football program was in a slump – and was credited with the team’s victory due to his presence. Since then, a long line of rams (all known as Rameses) has witnessed Tar Heel games near and afar.

Serving as a primary source of luck, Rameses has traveled from New York to Jacksonville for many Tar Heel showdowns, including the Carolina-Notre Dame game in 1949 and multiple appearances in Carolina’s Gator Bowl games.


North Carolina Tar Heels Midnight Mascot T-Shirt – Black

North Carolinians, if you’re looking to support the UNC squad alongside Rameses the Ram like a true Tar Heel, you must look the part. Make your way over to to explore a wide variety of light blue and white merchandise and fan gear.




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