Nickname Ties URI, VCU…
Here's a little Monday history that you may not have known. It ties the Rams–specifically that nickname–to our Wednesday opponent, Rhode Island.
As most people know, VCU used to be known as RPI (Richmond Professional Institute) and the athletics teams were called the Green Devils. The university had long been associated with The Colleges of William & Mary system; however the Virginia General Assembly dissolved the system in 1962, and RPI and Norfolk College (soon-to-be ODU) became independent state universities.
The athletics department followed suit and embraced the new university. Taking effect for the 1963-1964 season, the men's basketball team took the court in
blue and gray uniforms and RPI chose Rams as its new mascot. Why? It was rather simple.
Way back in 1950, RPI hired its first full-time athletics director, Ed Allen. Mr. Allen was also the basketball and baseball coach. Allen was a Providence native, a 1943 graduate of University of Rhode Island, and came
to Richmond after his first wife, Edythe Johnson Allen, became an
instructor in social work at RPI.
So when it came time in 1963 to re-nickname the athletics teams at RPI, Allen didn't have to look to far. His sense of pride led him directly to Rams.
Five years later, in 1968, the
merger of RPI and the Medical College of Virginia formed VCU. The new university, with athletics still under the direction of Allen, changed the school colors to black and gold but kept the nickname Rams.