1931 - The "Gator" Legend Begins
When the University became more known for sports, especially football, the student body sought to determine a mascot. The truth is, there is no connection between SF State mascot and an actual alligator. Originally, the "Golden Gater" was elected as the school's original mascot because San Francisco was known as the city of the Golden Gate Bridge. Thus, the Golden Gaters.
After SF State's student newspaper, the "Bay Leaf," calls for the school to adopt a mascot, a reader proposes the alligator -- because "it is strong and we hope our teams have strength. It is well-built and is steadfast, steadily moving toward its goal."
The reader also proposed spelling the Golden Gaters with an "e" to typify our San Franciscan location to strangers.
Students vote to adopt it.
That August, however, the Bay Leaf begins inconsistently misspelling the name as "'Gator," and after the paper eventually changes its own name to the "Golden Gater," the name and spelling sticks and the Gator Mascot becomes reality.
The Bay Leaf 10:17 (May 7, 1931): 1. Mascot For S.T.C Finally Chosen GOLDEN GATERS
“Eat ‘em up Gaters!”
The Golden Gater has been officially chosen as the S.T.C. mascot. This decision was reached after a second student body election on the matter. The Golden Panther was a close second in the voting. It was chosen because it is strong and it is hoped that the college teams will be strong. It is also steadfast, moving steadily towards its goal. Selected to represent the college, it will be capable of bringing honor both to the students and to the faculty. San Francisco is often called “The City of the Golden Gate” and Golden Gaters represent this selection.
The first mascot suggested was not the Golden Gater, but the Golden Panther! This image is from the "Bay Leaf" dated Wednesday, January 28, 1931, page 1.