THE INCREDIBLE JEEP!
Interscholastic athletic teams at South Webster High School in South Webster, Ohio are known as the “JEEPS”. Many people often ask . . . “What is a JEEP?” Read on friends and neighbors.
Most people associate the teams’ mascot with the four-wheel motor vehicle that became popular during military operations in World War II. A prime example of mistaken identity was when one sportswriter referring to one of the players who had an exceptional scoring evening stated, “He really put the pedal to the metal.” No, the JEEP of South Webster fame is not the four-wheeler JEEP. The JEEPS of South Webster are proud possessors of a completely unique mascot. Read on friends and neighbors.
Before 1940, South Webster High School athletic teams had no official name, although local sportswriters sometimes referred to them as the “midgets.”
However, in 1940 the rules of basketball, by accident, helped to produce the mighty JEEP. By the rule in 1940, coaches were not permitted on the playing floor to instruct players. Coaching had to be done prior to the start of the game or at halftime. During rest periods between the first and third quarters of play the team manager at South Webster would roll a small box onto the court to supply players with refreshments and first-aid materials. However, the coach at South Webster was accused (and rightly so perhaps) of sending in plays and instructive notes in this little four-wheeled box. Local fans were positive that when that little box was sent onto the floor, players were getting more than refreshments. Everyone knew that the box contained answers to the problems being presented by the opposing team.
Also in 1940, a favorite comic strip contained a character who knew everything. In 1936, the character of “Eugene the Jeep, “ a small, bright-eyed creature from Africa who was all knowing, was introduced into the “Popeye” comic strip. Popeye gave the Jeep to his girlfriend, Olive Oyl, as a birthday gift. The Jeep, whose diet consisted of orchids, helped Popeye solve many difficult situations in his comic strip career.
Since the JEEP was all knowing, some local South Webster people associated the coach’s box, containing messages to his players, with the comic strip character.
According to, what is now legend, the late Mayor of South Webster, Mr. Gilbert Havener, is credited as the first person to label the box as the “JEEP BOX.” The sports editor of The Portsmouth Times (now Daily Times), Lynn Wittenberg, picked up the term and used it in describing South Webster’s 1940 Scioto County Tournament team.
The mascot was never officially adopted, but has been, since 1940 generally accepted.
The evolution of the JEEP continued in 1949, with JEEPS appearing for the first time on varsity basketball uniforms and, in 1950, the JEEP emblem appeared on warm-up pants of varsity players.
Although never officially adopted, and often mistakenly compared to the common four-wheeled vehicle, the JEEP remains the rallying symbol for Bloom Local High School at South Webster . . . . teams, students, graduates and her many fans. It is a unique mascot and that uniqueness is one of the major reasons for it’s continuing popularity.
Read on friends and neighbors.
Give me a “J” ….. give me an “E”….give me an “E” …..give me a “P”…..give me an “S”….that spells JEEPS!