During Findlay's first 55 years, the University did not have an established mascot. Oiler existence began as a cartoon character that first appeared in 1937. From 1984 through 2000 there were several versions of a mascot that made an appearance, but none of them stuck.
Big personality. Big heart. Big beard.
Fall 2000 brought some excitement as a contest to design Findlay's next mascot debuted. Then athletic director of marketing, Charlie Ernst, thought the time had come for the University of Findlay to have a proper mascot so he enlisted the help of the student body. “We wanted to make sure our students were involved in the process, so we held a 'Design the Mascot' contest," said Ernst. Flyers were posted around campus and an ad was placed in the campus newspaper, The Pulse, asking students to design their version of an “Oiler". The ad notes that the term “Oilers" was adopted by then Findlay College in 1937 as a nickname for the institution and the term was derived from the late 1800s when men who worked on the drilling rigs in the Findlay area were called “Oilers". Those men were also known to be rowdy, dirty and tough.
Armed with the incentive of a $100 gift card to the campus bookstore, the student submissions began pouring in. It was Sarah (King '02) Mitchell who won the grand prize and the claim to fame of designing and naming the University's first official mascot. “My original design was just an image I had in my head of what an 'Oiler' should look like – rough and ready. Charlie really liked it, but asked that I give him a helmet and Findlay colors. I was very pleased with how it turned out. The name 'Derrick' came from oil derrick, which is another name for an oil rig," said Mitchell. Her Derrick the Oiler drawing was announced as the winning submission during the 2000 homecoming football game. At the time, Mitchell admits she didn't give much thought to the impact Derrick would have on campus life. “Seeing now what a visible part he plays on campus is really quite impressive. It's neat to think that I've made a lasting mark on the University and its history," she added.
After nearly one year of design and production with costume design company, Olympus Flag and Banner, Findlay finally acquired their new mascot on Friday, Oct. 13, 2001. Later that month on Oct. 17, Derrick the Oiler made his burly debut at an Oiler basketball game as the University's first official mascot.
Derrick the Oiler is a campus icon and a coveted
fixture at all major campus events. He even joined the 2009 Oilers men’s
basketball team in the national spotlight when they won the NCAA Division II
basketball championship game and ended the season undefeated. Derrick's popularity extends well beyond campus events, he has cheered runners on at the
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in downtown Findlay, encouraged philanthropy
at the Helping Hands Food Drive to support CHOPIN Hall, and competed against other area mascots at Mascot Mania in
Derrick is a spirit leader and goodwill ambassador for the University of Findlay. Popular among the Oiler fans and students he is one of the most animated mascots in Ohio. Women love him, children adore him, and men wish they could grow a beard like him.