From vultures to dragons to knights, the journey to find the right mascot wasn’t an easy one. All of these characters served as mascots in some form before Knightro.
Citronaut and Vincent the Vulture
When the Citronaut — a character comprised of an orange with the head of an astronaut — was unveiled on the cover of FTU’s 1968-69 Student Handbook, it was met with much disapproval by students. After just one year, students petitioned Student Government to establish an official mascot.
The counter to the Citronaut was Vincent the Vulture, proposed by a night nurse at the campus health center and drawn by her husband. Black-and-gold Vincent, inspired by the ever-present vultures circling the newly cleared campus land, had a strong contingent of supporters. The Citronaut/Vincent the Vulture conflict lasted more than a year, until students approached President Millican to offer a solution.
With the athletics program just beginning, the university needed a nickname. Via suggestion boxes located throughout campus, a committee of students, staff and faculty considered at least 80 submissions. Out of a narrowed selection that included the Chargers, Sun Devils and Thunderbolts, the Knights of Pegasus won big.
In 1970, FTU’s athletics program finally had a nickname, the Knights. And the students had a logo to rally behind, a democratically chosen design that allied the mascot with the university seal’s mythological winged horse, Pegasus.
Sir Wins-a-lot, Puff, Mack the Knight
In 1980, UCF decided to revamp the mascot to motivate the crowd and draw attention to the new football program. That brought the debut of Sir Wins-a-lot, a knight-themed mascot featuring a large smiling face made of plastic. Sir Wins-a-lot was eventually retired in favor of a horse and rider.
Then arrived dragon-themed Puff, in a costume donated by Disney, followed by Mack the Knight, who made his inaugural appearance in time for UCF’s 25th anniversary. During this time, UCF football had arguably the most unique pregame show in the nation — a series of lavish medieval-period scenes performed by the cast of Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.
While all three mascots had moments in the sun, they served only as preludes to the great knight.
In November 1994, an unnamed, towering knight clad in golden armor started making on-campus appearances. Trey Gordon, ’96, a cheerleader and member of the Student Government Association, helped to create the mascot and filled the role himself that season, showing up at UCF basketball games and public gatherings. In Fall 1995, the golden mascot was officially dubbed Knightro.
A year later, a local Disney character developer created a new version of Knightro as well as a female version, Glycerin, but after two years, Glycerin was phased out. The following years brought further tweaks to Knightro’s look, and in 2005, a group of engineering students created a motorized car for him.
Today, the ever-popular Knightro is operated by the Team Knightro Mascot Squad, which consists of three to five students who don the mascot armor for sports events and special appearances.
As UCF and its athletics program continue to reach higher, Knightro charges forward.