Prior to Bobby Bearcat, Mike the Dog was Northwest's first mascot. By 1920, however, the "Bearcat" had become the official mascot and athletic logo. The first representations of the Bearcat fluctuated between a very realistic like cat to a very realistic like bear.
The first Bobby Bearcat costume, worn by Coach Vinnie Vaccaro, was created by the Art Department in the early 1970s and made of fiberglass. The next Bobby costume consisted of only a white felt head and mittens fashioned by a local Maryville seamstress.
In the mid-to-late 1970s, Bobby met Betty "Roberta" Bearkitten and married her, making her Betty Bearcat. In the 1980s, Bobby received a makeover with a furry and more huggable costume made of yellow faux fur. In the late 1990s, Bobby while still kid-friendly, became fiercer and was never out of his official Northwest football or basketball uniform.