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Sagehen Evolution

Cecil Sagehen

Cecil Sagehen entertains Claremont residents during the annual 4th of July parade.

Theories abound, but nobody knows for certain how the Sagehen became our mascot. We do know that the sports teams were called the Huns in the early 1900s. One tale attributes the switch from Huns to Hens to a local newspaper typo that somehow stuck. Another story has the College making the convenient one-letter change due to the World War I fight with Germany.

Ben Belletto, Pomona-Pitzer men's tennis coach and sports information director, is the latest to delve into the mystery, with inconclusive results. He's skeptical of the typo story, in part because of the distance between "e" and "u" on the keyboard.

To further confuse the issue, a search of the Los Angeles Times historical database shows the Sagehen name is used as early as 1911. A sample headline: "Tiger Skinned by Pomona: Occidental Fine Doormat for Sage Hens." The article was written by Owen R. Bird. We're not making this up.

Sometime in subsequent decades, the mascot became personified as Cecil Sagehen. Cecil now shows up at major events and football games, backed by the Pomona's fight song, "When Cecil Sagehen Chirps." The lyrics, written in the mid-1960s by a couple of members of the Pomona band, include such immortal passages as: "We're gonna fracture the foes of Pomona's might / ... We're gonna wail on their bods for the blue and white!" and "Our foes are filled with dread / Whenever Cecil Sagehen flies overhead!"