Bill Durham was a typical student in the 1960s at Florida State. He was active in campus intramurals, played in a band called the Velvets and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. During his sophomore year he was involved in the Homecoming committee when he came up with an idea to really bring alive the Seminoles of Florida State. It was idea that would not fly at the time and was tabled for nearly 15 years.
But as the saying goes, timing is everything. Durham entered the insurance industry and was talking with a client at home who happened to be the new football coach at Florida State. Coach Bobby Bowden shared his desire of establishing a new tradition at FSU and tossed out some ideas. And so, the opportunity arose for Durham to pitch the idea again. By the fall of 1977, Chief Osceola and Renegade began to materialize with the support of Bobby and Ann Bowden. One of Durham’s first steps was to seek the approval of the Seminole Indian Tribe. He then ran an ad in the Flambeau and received 168 applicants for the first rider. They were unable to locate the “right” horse so the original Renegade who premiered at the 1978 season opener against Oklahoma State was borrowed from a friend. Fans at that game got a chance to witness the birth of a legend.