Back in 1919 UCLA was known as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California. The UCLA football team, playing its first season, was then known as the "Cubs" owing to their younger relationship to the California Bears in Berkeley. In 1923, under new coach Jimmie Cline, the football team adopted the name "Grizzlies" instead of Cubs. In 1925, Bill Spaulding came west from the University of Minnesota to help upgrade the football program. In 1928, the Grizzlies joined the Pacific Coast Conference. However, there was a problem with the nickname, since the University of Montana, also a member of the PCC at the time, had prior rights to the nickname "Grizzlies". UCLA, which had changed its name from the Southern Branch in 1927, became the "Bruins" in 1928 and has been recognized as such ever since.

Like those of the University of California, UCLA's colors are blue and gold. The university's colors were chosen to represent the state's various attributes: Blue to symbolize the ocean, and local wildflowers. Yellow to reflect the Golden State, the California poppy and sunsets. Of course, the shades have changed over the years. The blue, for example, has varied from powder to sky to royal.

The first athletic mascot for UCLA teams appeared as the result of spirited student demand. In the 1930's, a live bear and its trainer were rented by Associated Students to appear at all UCLA home football games. However, wild animals became increasingly difficult to handle in a large crowd, and the Coliseum outlawed their appearances.

UCLA was without a mascot again until the early 1950's, when student and alumni united to bring "Little Joe Bruin" to Westwood. Only six months of age during the football season, this first official "Little Joe" was a Himalayan bear cub from India. However, after a short time he grew too large and was transferred to a circus. The first "Josephine" arrived in 1961, after a long search to fill "Little Joe Bruin's" place. She was purchased by the alumni, and was kept in the backyard of the Rally Committee chairman. She also grew too large and was soon moved to the San Diego Zoo. The difficulty in obtaining and caring for live bears eventually led to the appearance of costumed student mascots. In the mid-1960's several male students were selected to take turns playing the part of Joe Bruin. In 1967, the first female to become a UCLA mascot created the role of Josephine Bruin and joined Joe at athletic events. The various versions of the duo have been a fixture on the UCLA sporting scene ever since that time.

The winner of the annual USC-UCLA football game is given the Victory Bell. The 295-pound bell originally hung atop a Southern Pacific freight locomotive. It was given to UCLA in 1939 as a gift from the UCLA Alumni Association. For the next two seasons, cheerleaders rang the bell after each Bruin point.

At the opening game of the 1941 UCLA football season, six members of a USC fraternity mixed in among the Bruin supporters and after the game helped them load the Bell onto a waiting truck which was bound for Westwood. While the Bruin well-wishers were searching for the missing keys to the truck, the Trojan supporters drove off with the bell. The bell remained hidden for more than a year in various locations.

The controversy quieted somewhat until a picture of the bell was featured in a USC publication. This action re-ignited the rivalry, as students from UCLA retaliated by painting the Tommy Trojan statue on the USC campus. Trojan students then acted by burning their school's initials on several UCLA lawns. Police and school administrators had to be called to help quell the uprisings.

On Nov. 12, 1942, the bell was wheeled in front of Tommy Trojan and the student body presidents of both institutions signed an agreement stating that thereafter the annual winner of the rivalry football game would keep possession of the bell for the next year. In that first season on the gridiron following the pact, the Bruins, under the direction of coach Edwin Horrell, defeated the Trojans, 14-7, to mark the first-ever Bruin win in the series. Later that season, the Bruin team went on to make its first ever post-season appearance in the 1943 Rose Bowl game.

During the 1960s, the UCLA Marching Band adopted new Bruin-oriented lyrics to UC Berkeley's "Big C, Sons of California," and composed "Sons of Westwood," one of the Bruin fight songs. Today the "Eight-Clap" yell introduced by a UCLA student in 1948, often accompanies the fight song.

"Sons of Westwood"

We are Sons of Westwood,
And we hail the Blue and Gold;
True to thee our hearts will be,
Our love will not grow old.

Bruins roam the hills of Westwood,
By the blue Pacific shore;
And when they chance to see a man from USC,
Ev'ry Bruin starts to roar.

U! (3 claps)
C! (3 claps)
L! (3 claps)
A! (3 claps)
U-C-L-A! Fight! Fight! Fight!

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the UCLA Alumni Association commissioned a new fight song. After a contest soliciting lyrics from students and alumni, Academy Award-winning composer Bill Conti chose the winning lyrics (from Barbara Lamb '66 and Don Holley '84) and wrote the music to "Mighty Bruins." The song made its gridiron debut in fall 1984 at the Stanford football game, with Conti conducting the UCLA Marching Band.

"Mighty Bruins"

We are the Mighty Bruins,
The best team in the West.
We're marching on to victory,
To conquer all the rest.

We are the Mighty Bruins,
Triumphant evermore.
You can hear from far and near,
The Mighty Bruin roar!

U! (3 claps)
C! (3 claps)
L! (3 claps)
A! (3 claps)

U-C-L-A! Fight! Fight! Fight!

UCLA and Berkeley shared an Alma Mater until 1925, when a UCLA student wrote a song called "Hail Blue and Gold." This song was replaced in 1960 by the current Alma Mater, "Hail to the Hills of Westwood," which was written by student Jeane Emerson.

Hail to the Hills of Westwood

Hail to the hills of Westwood,
To the mighty sea below;
Hail to our Alma Mater,
She will conquer every foe.

For we're loyal to the Southland,
Her honor we'll uphold;
We'll gladly give our hearts to thee,
To the Blue and to the Gold.