The Origin of the Bearcats and the Black & Gold

Posted: January 25, 2016 in Sports, Things I Love

Children, sit down and lend an ear, for I have a story to tell . . .TheJiggeraaa

Once upon a time, way back before 1959, Paint Valley High School did not exist. Instead, there were two high schools in what is now our district, and they were called Twin High School and Bainbridge High School.

Twin High School was in the town of Bourneville, and Bainbridge High School was located in the village of Bainbridge. The rivalry between the two high schools was intense, and many battles took place between the basketball teams from the two schools. Football, you see, was not being played in our area yet.

At some point it was decided that the two schools would merge as one and be called Paint Valley High School, after the valley in which we reside. It was decided that the school would be built midway between the two towns, because that only seemed fair. Remember that all the housing in and around Route 28, Maple Grove Road and just west of Slate Mills did not exist at the time.

Due to the rivalry between the two schools, choosing a mascot and school colors was a bit of a touchy subject. After all, both schools and townships needed to be honored equally and fairly. What to do?

You need to know that the mascot for the Bainbridge team was the Polar Bears and their colors were orange and black. Twin High School was the home of the Tigers and their colors were blue and gold.

And so, the following was thusly decided. Paint Valley would take one color from Twin (gold) and one color from Bainbridge (black) to make our new school colors black and gold. Awesome.

Still, our new school needed a mascot. Remember that Bainbridge was the Polar Bears and Twin was the Tigers. So, it was decreed that Polar Bears and Tigers would henceforth be combined. Since Bear Tigers didn’t seem to roll off the tongue, it was deemed that our new school mascot would be a Bearcat, Bear from Polar Bears and Cats from Tigers. Brilliant!

BearcatIt should also be noted that at the time our new gymnasium was the Crown Jewel of basketball gyms in Southern Ohio and beyond. People from all over would come just to tour our gym and get a look at the beauty and vastness of it. When other schools were playing in tiny gyms that seated 300-400 people, the Paint Valley Gym seated 1,300 and hosted many sectional and district tournament games.

For these reasons, in 2002 when the gym was renovated, the choice was made to keep the wooden bleachers and iron railings (albeit new ones) in order to honor the old school feel of this legendary gymnasium.

At that time it was also decided to name our renovated gymnasium in honor of our friend and former Paint Valley principal Donald “Jigger” Anderson, who not only played in the gym as a high school athlete but also had sons and daughters who played and cheered there as well.

Because we named the gym in his honor, it has since been referred to as “The Jigger” and is to many a refreshing counterpoint to the cookie-cutter gymnasiums that are popular among the newly built schools.

So there ya go. Just a little background history regarding our school, mascot, school colors and gymnasium.

I hope it makes you even prouder to be a Bearcat.


  1. Always loved that gymnasium and I’ve seen a lot of gyms but none so fine as Paint Valley High’s.

Gimme a holler.

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