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CU athletics launches new nickname

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As of Monday, Jan. 4 Cumberland University athletics has a new logo and nickname.

In a release from the athletic department, a singular nickname "The Cumberland Phoenix" was unveiled for all things related to the CU sports programs after years under the nickname "Bulldogs".

Adopting the new nickname is a tip of the cap to Cumberland's history and bold step toward the future.

According to mythology, upon reaching a great age, the Phoenix is consumed in flame and reborn from the ashes.

In the 1860s, the Civil War came to Lebanon and most of Cumberland's campus was burned to the ground by the invading Union forces.

The fire destroyed all but two Corinthian columns of University Hall.

Upon one of the remaining columns, a student (Dr. W. E. Ward) wrote the Latin phrase "Resurgam" ("I shall rise again").

That phrase would prove prophetic as Cumberland eventually rose from the ashes, adopting the mythical firebird as its namesake.

The rising bird appears on the institution's official seal and already lends its likeness to a version of Cumberland's athletic logo.

It adorns the stained glass of Baird Chapel, lends its name to the institution's alumni magazine, and serves as the namesake of Cumberland's annual Phoenix Ball.

In reality, the run-up to the switch has been one of the worst kept secrets in town.

For several seasons, "Bulldogs" has been absent from the front of CU's competition uniforms.

"Bulldogs" is a very common nickname among college teams, including Union University in Jackson and Union College in Kentucky along with some 43 other colleges and universities in the United States.

The singular nickname "Phoenix" is utilized by only two other collegiate programs -- Elon (N.C.) and the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay -- make that three with Cumberland's announcement.

"In 2015 as in the 1860s, the Phoenix stands as an instantly recognizable symbol of Cumberland University's fire-forged excellence," states the release.

"The Phoenix reflects the grace and dynamism of an institution continually reinventing itself to continue preparing its students to reach the pinnacle of academic and athletic success".

Hall of Fame baseball coach Woody Hunt has been in favor of the move from the start -- in fact, he made the initial suggestion several years ago.

"With the new President, a new era at Cumberland, I think this really goes with what we at the University believe. The Phoenix has been a part of our athletic logo since the junior college days -- I know, I've been here.

"It's a natural thing for our school as we 'rise up' to a different level in everything we do," Hunt said.

"I'm going to use it in a very positive way this spring with baseball. We'll make it a positive thing. I'm excited about the change."

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