Cougar Statue Donated To BYU Athletics

This twice-life-size cougar statue, entitled "Turning Point", was crafted by renowned wildlife artist Jocelyn Russell and donated to BYU Athletics (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- BYU Athletics has received a bronze cougar monument through the efforts and generosity of the Cougar Club's Arizona Chapter. Crafted by renowned wildlife artist Jocelyn Russell, the twice-life-size statue is entitled "Turning Point." It depicts a running cougar turning towards its prey.

The statue, cast at Adonis Bronze in Alpine, Utah, weighs about 1,000 pounds. It is mounted on an 800-pound, metal base and surrounded by a half ton of natural rock. The stone base was crafted and installed by A Good Brick Mason, which, along with Adonis Bronze, donated labor to help make the project possible.

"Turning Point" was first unveiled to BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU football team in Arizona on Sept 1, the night prior to the Cougars' season opener. It was also displayed the day of the BYU vs. Arizona game at the BYU tailgate party held at the University of Arizona's LDS Institute, where it was featured on local news broadcasts back in Utah. Transported by trailer back to Provo, Utah, the statue was displayed at LaVell Edwards Stadium at BYU's home opener against Tulsa on Sept. 9 as the artist and donors were honored on the field.

Installation of the statue into its permanent home in Legacy Hall of the Student Athlete Building began on Oct. 13 when workers from Adonis and BYU, along with volunteers that included BYU track and field All-American Niklas Arrhenius, moved the base and statue into place. Coupling and welding the statue to the base was completed on Oct. 16, the same day stonemasons began work on the base.

The "Turning Point" project began in 2004, when Dan Foote, Alan Hyde, and David Alcorn discovered an original bronze by Russell that they believed could be enlarged to become a powerful icon for BYU Athletics. Subsequently, Hyde, the Arizona Cougar Club Chapter President, and Foote, the Chapter President-Elect, proposed the idea to BYU and then rallied major contributions from Arizona boosters to pay for the monument.

The statue will be officially presented to BYU's Athletic Department on Oct. 21 as part of BYU's 2006 Homecoming festivities. A private unveiling will be held for donors and project participants on Oct. 20.

Donors to the monument include Randy and Kathryn Cullimore, Michael and Cherise Dodson, Tim and Kristen Olson, Alan and Kathy Hyde, Ty and Cindy Ruddell, Denny and Nichole Barney, Travis and Jennifer Cullimore, David and Jeri Alcorn, Daniel and Lisa Foote, Gary and Tina Knighton, Michael and Laura Middleton and the Jonathan Staker Family.