Billy Bluejay is the official mascot of the Creighton University Athletics Department. Creighton is a private, Jesuit NCAA Division I school in Omaha, Nebraska founded in 1878.
Prior to 1924, with no official athletics nickname, University publications and news media often referred to Creighton athletic teams by the school’s colors – the “White and Blue,” or vice versa. Because of Creighton’s location atop a bluff, the team was occasionally designated unofficially as the “Hilltoppers,” but the name lost favor because at least six other teams in the country went by the same nickname. At the behest of Creighton’s Athletics Board and Alumni Association, the Omaha Bee newspaper coordinated a public contest in late 1923 to select a nickname and mascot for Creighton University athletic teams. After reviewing 200 entries, the Athletics Board decided upon “Bluejays” because the color of the bird was in keeping with school colors.
The Bluejays were originally depicted by an ornithologically correct rendition of the bird. In 1941, Creighton alumnus Joseph P. Murphy, a 1931 graduate of the College of Business and, at the time, a Creighton journalism professor and the head of its public relations department, designed a graphical image of the bird with a more human stance and expression. Murphy’s 1941 design remained largely intact for the past 72 years with only minor revisions. While it is unclear on the exact year the first walking costume mascot modeled after Murphy’s 1941 graphical image appeared publicly or the first time the image or mascot were referred to as “Billy Bluejay,” many costumes were created, changed/re-designed and replaced over the past seven decades as Billy became a fixture at Creighton Athletics events, roaming the sidelines to cheer on his beloved Bluejays.
In October, 2013, in conjunction with Creighton’s move to the BIG EAST Conference, the University unveiled a new Athletics brand – athletic logo, sport-specific logos and corresponding secondary marks designed to increase overall awareness of the Creighton University Bluejays - locally, regionally and nationally. The new logo was designed to build on the history, tradition and love of previous Billy Bluejay icons while maintaining the integrity of the past and establishing the new Creighton Bluejay brand as a distinct and recognizable identity in the BIG EAST Conference.
Creighton Athletics turned to Street Characters to provide an updated Billy Bluejay walking mascot costume, one that was more vibrant, more athletic and one that more closely resembled the new athletics brand unveiled in October. The new-look Billy Bluejay walking mascot costume was complete in early December and he made his first public appearance in front of over 17,000 fans when the Creighton men’s basketball team hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Dec. 8 at CenturyLink Center Omaha.