AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas mascot Bevo XIV, recently diagnosed with Bovine Leukemia Virus, passed away in his sleep on Friday.
Following a preliminary diagnosis of the illness last week, Bevo XIV had been resting at his ranch, where he died in the company of his best longhorn friend Spike and John T. and Betty Baker, the owners and caretakers of both Bevo XIV and his predecessor, Bevo XIII.
"Bevo XIV was so much more than a traditional mascot -- he was so big and strong, but he had such a sweet personality and a gentle soul," said Ricky Brennes, Executive Director of the Silver Spurs and Bevo XIV's regular traveling partner. "He loved the attention that came with being Bevo but was very cool, calm and smart. Like a dog he would come when called by name, show up to the house looking for treats and even roll over on his side so Mrs. Baker could rub his belly. He did so much for his university and community. His last few days provided great memories, but we miss him already."
The search for Bevo XV will begin immediately, and will be led by the Silver Spurs Alumni Association. It will focus on finding the same majestic qualities as previous longhorns that have worn the famous Bevo halter. The timeframe for selection and training has not yet been finalized, but it is anticipated that Bevo XV will be on the sidelines for the 2016 football season, including Thanksgiving, the 100th Anniversary of Bevo's first appearance at a Texas Football game.
Bevo XIV began his tenure at the age of two in 2004, and was on the sidelines for many historic moments. Bevo XIV was a part of back-to-back Rose Bowl victories, including the January 2006 win that resulted in the most recent Longhorns' BCS Football National Championship. In addition to his prominent position on the sidelines at Texas Football games, Bevo XIV made multiple appearances at special events, including the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.
The necessary funds to support the care and transport of Bevo are provided by the Silver Spurs Bevo Endowment. The endowment also funds scholarships for UT students and provides financial support for the primary charity of the Silver Spurs, the Neighborhood Longhorns Program.
Bevo XIV and the Silver Spurs have assisted in providing more than $250,000 in the last two years to support the Neighborhood Longhorns Program, which is an educational incentive program operated in partnership with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in 30 Title 1 elementary and middle schools.