Historic mascots Greenie, little boy in football gear; Gumby, tall with green fur; and Riptide, fuzzy-feathered pelican with big yellow beak.

Down Memory Lane

Green Wave mascots and Tulane Athletics logos evolved through the years, pumping up school spirit, a winning atmosphere and fun times.

The traditions. The tailgates. Marching bands and dance collectives. Screaming fans — from longtime ticket holders to first-time visitors. Classic games and heroics — from the season’s first flyover to the last whistle. It doesn’t get any better than watching the Olive Green and Sky Blue pursue greatness and championships each season.

With the pageantry that’s on full display every game day, two things are constant yet ever-changing, Green Wave mascots and logos. Tulane is home to some of the most memorable mascots and logos in college athletics history and owns one of the most unique brand elements and color palettes in the country. This distinctiveness attracts national media attention from top sports broadcasters and popular social media accounts.

Yes, the West Coast has a warring Trojan and a dancing tree. And, sure, we might think about a leprechaun or a gator when it comes to the Midwest or our neighbors in the Sunshine State. But it’s undeniable that Tulane is an absolute standout when it comes to mascots and logos firing up our fans and supporters, whether at Old Tulane Stadium, the Superdome, beloved Yulman Stadium, Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse or at away games. So, let’s go down memory lane as we explore the fun history of Tulane Green Wave mascots and logos.

cartoon pelican wearing a Tulane top waves its wing as it rides a surfboard
Surfing Pete the Pelican shared mascot status from 1949–51 and appeared on the 1950 Jambalaya cover.

Pete the Pelican

While the Green Wave team name was adopted in 1920, it’s not until 30 years later that fans saw the moniker come to life. Utilizing the state bird of Louisiana and with a subtle nod to the university seal, Pete the Pelican arrived on the scene in 1950. Surfing on a green wave, donning an olive green tank top with a white “T,” and lifting a joyous wing in the air, Pete was ahead of his time as a precursor to the U.S. surfing craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The beach-inspired Pete represented Tulane into the next decade. But Pete was far from alone in raising the banner for TU during this time.

Greenie vintage toy bobblehead; a little boy in Tulane football gear


In 1945, editorial cartoonist and Tulane history instructor John Churchill Chase created the lovable Greenie. Fitted in olive green and white football attire with a helmet to match, Greenie was a small child with a button of a nose and a signature mischievous grin. Comedy always ensued because Greenie’s forever mission was to one-up opponents. As a fixture on Tulane game-day program covers, it was common to see Greenie de-striping Mike the Tiger, preparing to swat a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket to a sticky mat, or seasoning the Virginia Tech Hokie for entry into a stew pot.

Greenie spent nearly 20 years getting over on foes and finding imaginative ways to success, including drilling holes in Navy’s ship and splashing water on a Kentucky Wildcat.

Greenie was featured on vintage covers of football game programs. Cartoons of little boy with footballs of opposing teams and shaving a bear mascot.
Greenie, a lovable character created by John Churchill Chase, was featured on covers of football game programs from 1945 to the 1960s.
sketches of a fierce wave cartoon figure swinging a baseball bat
A fiercer logo — the Angry Wave — was commissioned by athletic director Rix Yard in 1964. Original sketches of the first Angry Wave by Eldon Endacott and Art Evans are in Tulane University Archives.

The Angry Wave Is Born

Greenie’s high jinks were endless until the arrival of Tulane athletic director Rix Yard. Yard set out to establish a more fierce-looking symbol, and so the transition was on from Greenie’s kid jokes.  Eldon Endacott, manager of the Tulane Bookstore, and Art Evans, art director for Angelus-Pacific Co., collaborated on sketches. And, in 1964, the Angry Wave was officially born. With clenched fists and a scowling look, the Angry Wave meant business. The Angry Wave logo inspired the first real mascot to cheer on the sidelines in the 1970s. The original Angry Wave mascot was a 7-foot, 6-inch, sack-like figure with intense eyes and hair bangs resembling foamy whitecaps. Steve Jordon (A&S ’81), who dressed as the mascot, once said, “It’s such an odd-looking mascot. It was a larger-than-life figure. I got lots of attention as the Gumby on the sidelines.”

person dressed in a wave-shaped costume with an angry face
Steve Jordon (A&S ’81) dressed as the Angry Wave mascot, shown here at the Louisiana Superdome, circa 1975.

Gumby Evolves

Taking inspiration from its student-given nickname “Gumby,” the Angry Wave mascot evolved from its original unwieldy wave-shape to a more upright iteration in 1983. The new Gumby mascot more closely resembled a green banana or pea pod with white hair than a wave, but he was always spirited and much beloved by the students for his uniqueness. Gumby had a “facelift” in 1991 to give him a more jovial appearance, and he continued to rally the troops through the spring of 1998.

person in green fur mascot costume with white, wave-like plume on top of head
Gumby changed appearance through the years from 1983–1998.

Short-Lived Neptune

In late 1989, Neptune was introduced in Fogelman Arena when basketball returned after a five-year hiatus. Neptune was a can’t-miss figure. Trident in hand and horns sticking out of flowing white hair, the god of the sea  made a memorable impression with a muscular frame, toga wardrobe and a head reminiscent of a Kern Studios–built caricature. Urban legend says that at football games in 1990, Neptune rode out of the Superdome tunnel on mobilized Jet Skis, emulating the motion of the ocean. So far, no photographic proof of this has been found. Despite a unique flair, Neptune would soon get the boot. The underwater ruler was never officially accepted as the university’s mascot.

mascot costume of Neptune consisting of a mask with horns sticking out of flowing white hair and a toga wardrobe
Neptune reigned for a brief time in 1989–1991.

Angry Wave 2.0

In 2016, a new and improved Angry Wave was designed for the Tulane Athletics logo. The Angry Wave is stationed at the entrance and on the scoreboard at Yulman Stadium. It’s on flags, banners, Green Wave athletics uniforms and clothing of fans everywhere.

Angry Wave sculpture - a green wave with an angry face, balled-up fist and a Tulane megaphone
The Angry Wave logo is displayed in front of Yulman Stadium and everywhere Green Wave fans gather today.

Riptide the Pelican

In 1998, Riptide the Pelican took the reins as the mascot of the Tulane Green Wave. Originally outlined with wings and a head of olive green and grey feathers, Riptide takes a cue from the original Greenie. Whether on the gridiron or the hardwood, Riptide carries the capacity to wear the athletic attire of the Tulane team in play — sans the helmet. Riptide has taken on slight alterations of eye coloring and feathers through the years. However, with an unmistakable yellow beak and pep in its step, Riptide has become a welcome addition and mainstay in the Tulane community.

The future is bright for Tulane and its mascots — both current and old. In recent years, Pete the Pelican and Greenie have found themselves back in the national spotlight due to throwback nostalgic Tulane football social media threads. The Angry Wave remains a beloved figure for Tulanians and opponents alike. In 2017, Tulane Athletics officially designated the Angry Wave as the primary logo. And you never know if Neptune will make a comeback. Rest assured, Tulane mascots from Greenie to Riptide have all played a role in elevating the Tulane Green Wave brand to prominence. In collaboration with each Tulane mascot, the Green Wave continues to further promote the fun in college athletics.

Riptide mascot costume. A fuzzy-feathered pelican with big yellow beak in a Tulane basketball jersey.
Riptide has been the official mascot of Tulane Athletics since 1998.

Photography: Tulane University Special Collections, Paula Burch-Celentano and Rusty Costanza