‘Riff Ram Bah Zoo’ has history too


TCU School of Journalism

TCU head coach Jamie Dixon and SuperFrog celebrate the 83-73 victory over ULM in TCU’s season opener. Photo by Carolina Olivares

By TCU 360 and TCU 360

At TCU, we love our traditions. Traditions begin the moment we curl the fingers on a peace sign or yell “Go Frogs” on game days. But what is the history behind these customs that have become a way of life for us?

We all love it and yell it at every event we can. It is the oldest cheer in the Southwest Conference, TCU’s original athletic conference, and it might date back all the way to the 1920s.

Riff, Ram, Bah Zoo

Lickety, Lickety, Zoo, Zoo

Who, Wah, Wah, Who

Give ’em Hell, TCU.

There is also the TCU Fight Song, composed in 1926 by band director Claude Sammis.


We’ll raise a song, both loud and long

To cheer our team to victory

For TCU, so tried and true,

We pledge eternal loyalty.


Rah, Rah, TCU!

Rah, Rah, TCU!


Fight on boys, fight, with all your might

Roll up the scores for TCU

Hail white and purple flag whose heroes never lag,

Horned Frog, we are all for you!

Heard on the hour throughout the campus, ringing from the bells of the Robert Carr Chapel and sung at special events, is the Alma Mater, written in 1928 by TCU student Glen Canfield.

Academic Verse:

Hail all hail, TCU

Memories Sweet, Comrades True

Light of Faith, Follow Through

Praise to Thee, TCU

Athletic Verse:

Hail all hail, Glory bright

Purple Frogs, Honor White

Victory, Spirits True

Praise to Thee, TCU

One of the cheers Patton Maynard leads in the student section is the Riff Ram chant. Photo courtesy of Patton Maynard.

Walking around TCU, it is impossible to forget the school colors of deep purple and white. People are dressed in it, banners are hung with those colors and floors and furniture are purple. As part of the TCU community, students see the world through purple-and-white-colored glasses. As students, former Dean Colby D. Hall and Birdie Reed chose the school colors because they thought the combination was beautiful.

As freshmen at TCU, students are welcomed with open arms during their first week of school with Howdy Week, which is filled with activities to integrate us in the campus community. Howdy Week was initiated in 1949 by student leader James Paschal.

Finally, there is the all-important horned frog, the very symbol of TCU. Addison Clark Jr., professor of English and history and one of the founders of the TCU athletic program, suited up to play rough and tumble with the students, despite his diminutive size. He was influential in the selection of the name “Horned Frog,” recognizing the useful little lizard as typical of the Southwest and common on the Waco campus.

Students and faculty have started traditions throughout the history of our university. It is students coming together and loving the school, making up songs and cheers, picking out colors and animals to represent the teams and coming up with ways to make everyone feel welcome. These traditions will probably stay with TCU throughout its history, but they will be joined by more that we create ourselves.

This story was originally published on Sept. 16, 2010.