Bucky's background begins with the story of the East Tennessee State University nickname -- the Buccaneers. A brief history begins with a Buccaneer, who once roamed a vast area which stretched from the Florida Keys northward. Johnson City, home of ETSU, is located among the mountains of Eastern Tennessee and is a great distance from the ocean. For this reason, one might wonder why ETSU would select a Buccaneer as their mascot. The answer is not that simple. Apparently, geologists and archaeologists teamed up and discovered an underground river near the university several years ago. Named Pirate Creek, it evidently winds its way through many subterranean tunnels. It is thought that these caverns at one time channeled all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Soon after this discovery, the legend of buccaneer, Jean Paul LeBucque was found in history books. The legend tells that LeBucque was a nuisance and terror. Evidently, he was looking for a place to hide his great store of gold and treasure, and find safety for himself. He sailed north in search of a new home and began to look inland. Legend states that he discovered the underground river near Johnson City and called Pirate Creek his home. Geologists feel that the upheaval of the earth's crust, which now blocks the channel, possibly killed LeBucque. This legend is widely accepted and is one way to explain why an inland school would choose a pirate nickname. This picture of Bucky was drawn by longtime ETSU head trainer Jerry Robertson and was used as the school's official athletic logo until 2001.
|Pepper the Parrot was introduced to ETSU fans in the early '80s and served as mascot for two decades.||The new Bucky pumps up the crowd at the 2003 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in Tampa.|