Every time BYU scores the George Q. Cannon is fired and the BYU marching band plays the Cougar Fight Song. Accounts vary on when the song was actually penned, either in 1932 or in 1946. Either way, the man who wrote the lyrics and composed the music was Julliard trained Clyde D. Sandgren. Clyde's son, and Cougar Fight Song copyright holder, Dee Sandgren remembers his father whistling a tune and writing it down on an envelope in the car so that he could remember it later.
A lot of BYU fans have had fun teasing University of Utah fans for changing the lyrics to their fight song, but one thing a lot of Cougar fans may not remember, or even realize, is that some of the lyrics in the Cougar Fight Song were changed for gender equality reasons. Up until the 1990's the lyrics used to be,
We will fight, day or night, rain or snow,
Stalwart men and true,
Wear the white and blue
Members of the BYU Women's Studies approached Dee about changing the lyrics but out of respect for his father's legacy he did not feel it was something that he could do. After a year so two had passed they talked to him about it again. It may seem trite, but Dee made it a matter of prayer and ultimately decided to change the lyrics as follows:
Loyal, strong and true
Dee likes the new lyrics even better, saying,
That phrase caught on a lot better. I've seen T-shirts with that phrase on them. I am very glad I did it; I think my dad would be proud
The Cougar Fight Song is a rallying point for fans. It's something that vocally unites 63,000-plus people who do not know each other. It's spawned T-shirt slogans and even the title of our website, Vanquish the Foe. Clyde D. Sandgren left behind a legacy that has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of fans.