We Are ‘CA’: Champion Aggies, a Cut Above

"Champion Aggies" campaign banners on lightpoles
Quarterback Jake Maier is on one of the banners along the north Quad.

A historic UC Davis logo gained renewed attention last year when ESPN showed football coach Dan Hawkins on the sideline of the Aggies’ first-ever Division I playoff game, proudly pointing to the “CA” on his cap.

UC Davis Intercollegiate Athletics, which has totally embraced the logo since then, enters the fall season with a promotional campaign in which “CA” stands for “Champion Aggies” (the campaign’s title), “Cut Above,” “Collectively Amazing,” “Courage Always” and “Challenge Accepted.”


Dan Hawkins points to "CA" hat, in gif.
  • WHAT: Aggies vs. Montana Grizzlies (and the Running of the First-Years right before kickoff)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 28)
  • WHERE: UC Davis Health Stadium

Look for the terms with action photos of our student-athletes in advertising and on banners and even wrapped on a Unitrans bus. And check out the Champion Aggies website, complete with a tagboard of the latest Aggie Athletics-related posts from social media.

The logo — in which the “A” is inside the “C” — represents the early history of the university itself, said Mark Honbo, assistant director of communications in Intercollegiate Athletics, in an article posted to the department’s website in March.

In 1922, the University Farm began offering four-year degrees and as such became known officially as a Branch of UC Berkeley’s College of Agriculture. “The appellation ‘California Aggies,’ or ‘Cal Aggies’ for short, surfaced around this same time, replacing the ‘Davis Farmers’ nickname,” Honbo wrote.

The Block CA Society also came into existence in 1922 and its symbol became a de facto logo for UC Davis Athletics, although the shape and size varied in almost every use, according to Honbo.

For varsity letters given to student-athletes, the university used an octagonal “C,” while the most common “CA” athletics logo featured a block C enclosing a horse’s head and three wheat stalks — a nod to the mustang symbol of the university and its agricultural roots. 

Other iterations, according to Honbo:

  • The baseball team’s “CA” with a comet-tail “C” (the letter’s backside has a point), perhaps inspired by the Cincinnati Reds), used on Aggie players’ caps from 1958 to 1998.
  • The football team’s “CA” with no tail on the “C,” used on helmets in the late 1960s and early ’70s before the team switched to a script “Davis” that lasted for more than a quarter century.

C-horse logo survives

"CA"-logo hats and apparel at UC Davis Stores
Some of what you’ll find at UC Davis Stores.

In 1999, the university rolled out a new family of campus logos and marks, including the C-horse: a mustang’s head inside a horseshoe-shaped “C.” This logo remains a UC Davis Athletics mark.

Honbo takes it from there: “In more recent years, several UC Davis teams brought back the comet-tail ‘CA’ on an unofficial basis, while outlets like UC Davis Stores and the Davis Sport Shop carried apparel with the logo.

“The baseball team reinstated the mark on its caps in 2018. That summer, the comet-tail ‘CA’ became an official logo for the athletics department, to be licensed and branded on its uniforms and gear for all sports.”

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