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Halftime ceremony honors former Bearcat mascots

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

In honor of Muncie Central High School’s former Bearcat mascots, nine Central alumni who have worn the uniform were honored during halftime of the Feb. 11 boys basketball game at the Muncie Fieldhouse.

Former Bearcat mascots honored at halftime were Jase Rigney, 2018-19; Noah Summers, 2017-18; Payton Ullman, 2015-16; Charlie Hammock, 2015-16; Holly (maiden name: Hays) Ling., 1997-98; Melanie (maiden name: Simmons) Howe, 1996-99; Lisa (maiden name: Dalton) Doan, 1994-95; Keith Roberts, 1990-1991; and Nancy (maiden name: McCullough) Winkle, 1962-64.

During the ceremony, the school also called attention to the fact that the use of the Bearcat nickname and a mascot are among the oldest such traditions in the state. One story note the Bearcat nickname has its origin in a phrase uttered after a Muncie Central vs. Anderson High School basketball game. According to Charlotte Shepperd, secretary and historian for the Muncie Central High School Alumni Association, a player noted that in the team’s loss to Anderson, a player pronounced his teammates fought like bears and clawed like cats, hence the nickname Bearcat was born.

The February halftime celebration also showed off the newest “suit of clothes” for the Bearcat mascot, currently named “Beau.” The new mascot uniform debuted during the Class of 2021 senior parade and made its initial athletic appearance at the first home football game August 20, 2021, vs. Delta High School.

Cost of the uniform was about $5,000 and was funded by 10 individual or grouped contributions, meaning a single donation listed several names, according to Charles Reynolds, associate superintendent of the Muncie Community Schools. The Muncie Central High School Alumni Association and a local foundation grant were among the contributors.

Former mascots visiting the Muncie Central Alumni Association Memorabilia Room are (front row) Melanie (maiden name: Simmons) Howe, 1996-99; Holly (maiden name: Hays) Ling., 1997-98; Nancy (maiden name: McCullough) Winkle, 1962-64; (back row) Keith Roberts, 1990-1991; Lisa (maiden name: Dalton) Doan, 1994-95; and Charlie Hammock, 2015-16.

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