"Hook 'em Hounds?" While the longhorn steer named Bevo has been a symbol of UT athletics for over eighty years, the University's first mascot was a scrappy tan and white dog named Pig Bellmont.
Born in Houston on February 10, 1914, Pig was only seven weeks old when he was brought to Austin by L. Theo Bellmont, a co-founder of the Southwest Athletic Conference and the University's first Athletic Director. Not long after his arrival, Pig was adopted by the University community, and for the next nine years roamed the campus as the 'Varsity mascot.
Every morning, Pig greeted students and faculty on his daily rounds. He frequented classrooms, and on cold days even visited the library (now Battle Hall). Pig regularly attended home and out-of-town athletic events, and it was said he would snarl at the slightest mention of Texas A&M. During World War I, Pig looked after the cadets of the School of Military Aeronautics, which was housed on the campus. He never missed a hike, and was always present for inspection. At night, Pig retired to his favorite digs under the steps of the University Co-op.
Pig was named for Gus "Pig" Dittmar, who played center for the football team. Gus was known to slip through the defensive line "like a greased pig." During a game in 1914, the athlete and the dog stood next to each other on the sidelines, and students noticed that both were bowlegged. It was not long before the dog had found a namesake.
On New Year's Day, 1923, Pig Bellmont was hit by a Model T at the corner of 24th Street and Guadalupe. He was only injured, but no one realized how seriously until his body was found a few days later. Pig's death was a tragic event on the campus, and the students decided to pay a final, fitting tribute to their canine friend.
On the afternoon of Friday, January 5th, Pig's body lay in state in front of the Co-op. Hundreds of mourners doffed their hats and filed by Pig's black casket, which was draped with orange and white ribbon. At five o'clock, the funeral procession began. Led by the Longhorn Band, the group marched south on Guadalupe Street to 21st Street, then east to the old Law Building, where the Graduate School of Business now stands. Pig's pallbearers were members of a new student group called the Texas Cowboys.
Northwest of the Law Building, under a small grove of three live oak trees, Pig's eulogy was delivered by Dr. Thomas U. Taylor, Dean and the founder of the College of Engineering. "Let no spirit of levity dominate this occasion," the Dean began, "A landmark has passed away." Pig was praised for his loyalty to the University, and compared to the faithful dog of Lord Byron. "I do not know if there is a haven of rest to which good dogs go, but I know Pig will take his place by the side of the great dogs of the earth." On cue, following Taylor's speech, a lone trumpeter played Taps in front of the Old Main Building.
After the funeral, a marker was left to remind the students of their first mascot. His epitaph: "Pig's Dead . . . Dog Gone."