2006 - Warhawks Nickname Controversy

On January 30, 2006, university president James Cofer announced officially that ULM would be retiring the 75-year-old “Indians” mascot in light of new NCAA restrictions against Indigenous-themed mascots, which the NCAA considers “hostile and abusive” to Native Americans, despite issuing an appeal to the NCAA to keep the name after the NCAA’s ruling allowing Florida State to keep their Seminoles nickname. This came a few days after a mascot committee voted unanimously in favor of the change. The university accepted suggestions for the new mascot through February 28, 2006. The mascot committee then selected 12 semifinalists.

An online poll, available to students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and the public, yielded three semifinalists: “Warhawks,” “Bayou Gators” and “Bayou Hawks.” The school’s mascot committee passed a single recommendation to the university president, who made the final decision. Warhawks was announced as ULM’s new mascot on April 5, 2006 and implemented on June 26, 2006. The new nickname honors Maj. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault, an LSU alumnus, and his Air Force unit from World War II, which utilized the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk in battle, although the logos primarily use bird imagery.