Rock Chalk Chant No. 1 in Coolest Football Sayings

May 17, 2012

The world famous University of Kansas Rock Chalk Chant has been named the No. 1 coolest football saying according to the Bleacher Report.

Bleacher Report columnist Alex Callos ranked the top 50 coolest football sayings and wrote this about KU’s “The chant may be even better at basketball games, but it is also goosebump-worthy at football games.” Part of Kansas Athletics tradition for more than 100 years, the Rock Chalk Chant was first followed by Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion, Oklahoma’s Boomer Sooner, Alabama’s Roll Tide and Marshall’s We Are Marshall rounding out his top five. For a complete list of Coolest Football Sayings go to –

History of the Rock Chalk Chant (from

The Rock Chalk Chant has been the battle cry of KU fans for over 100 years. This strange, traditional chant, which is among the most famous of all college cheers, was started by E.H.S. Bailey, a professor of chemistry.

Bailey wanted a cheer for his Science Club. Returning from a convention in Wichita, Bailey and some associates patterned the yell after the rhythmic cadence of their train rolling along the tracks. On May 21, 1886, Bailey submitted the cheer to his club. Originally, the chant was “Ray, Rah, Jay Hawk, K.U.” repeating the words three times. This yell was used by the science club the next year and there were frequent allusions to “The Science Club Yell” in the student newspapers.

An English professor suggested that “Rock Chalk” be substituted for “Rah, Rah” because it rhymed with Jayhawk and because it would be symbolic of the chalky limestone formations found on Mount Oread.

The chant was adopted as the college yell after the state oratorical contest in Topeka in 1886 because KU student yells for the their winners were enthusiastic, but unorganized. By the Fall of 1887 the yell was know as the official yell of the school as the student newspaper reported on November 4, 1887,

“Every college of importance in this country has a college cry. In every town in which a college is situated, the midnight air resounds with the hideous yells of the student, symbolic of victory, defeat, or devilment. The students of the University of Kansas use their yell but little and it is only amidst great victory that “Rock-chalk-Jay-Hawk, K-U-U-U floats throughout the midnight air reminding one of a band of Apache Indians.”

By 1889 the form of the cheer had changed to the drawn-out cadence repeated twice, followed by three staccato repetitions.

Listen to the Rock Chalk Chant at