The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 20, 2013

Joplin juco's mascot wasn't an instant hit

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Apparently it took some time for the Joplin Junior College mascot’s name to catch on.

JJC began playing sports in 1937, and throughout that school year, the school’s teams were referred to as the Green and Gold in the Joplin Globe and Joplin News-Herald.

According to research provided by Missouri Southern, Bayred Vermillion and J.R. Graue, two players on the junior college’s first football team, picked “Lions” as the school’s mascot after the first year.

But in looking through several months of microfilm, the team was referred to as “Lions” for the first time in The Globe during the final month of the school’s 1938 football season.

In the Nov. 4, 1938 issue of The Globe: “The Ozarks’ first rain in more than a month stopped last night’s scheduled football game between coach Red Blair’s Springfield Teachers College freshmen and the Joplin Junior College squadmen of coach Bill Collins — but only temporarily.

“After last-minute plans, with the sky still dripping, the game was postponed until 2:30 o’clock this afternoon when the junior Bears and the improved Lions are slated to tangle at the stadium in Joplin’s only football game of the day.’’

But then, the last sentence of the story: “Today’s battle will be the first of three final home games for the Green and Gold.”

Springfield won the game 19-0, and The Globe’s story referred to JJC in three ways — locals, Joplin and the Green and Gold. Not the Lions.

Joplin juco’s next game against Oklahoma Military Academy of Claremore was canceled because of adverse weather conditions.

Then in the final game Joplin bowed to undefeated Fort Scott Community College 29-13.

There was one reference to the Joplin mascot in the game story, but the team was called “Eagles” — the high school mascot — by mistake.