Our Town Fairbury: The Jeff Man

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:14 AM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 10:22 AM CDT
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FAIRBURY, Neb. (KOLN) - The community of Fairbury is very proud of the local school mascot. He’s known as “The Jeff Man”, and he’s definitely one-of-a-kind.

We talked with Fairbury Junior Senior High School Principal Sean Molloy about this beloved mascot. “The Jeff Man at times can be confused with the Monopoly character,” Molloy said. “But there’s really no relation. It actually originated from the “Mutt and Jeff” comic strip. There’s two theories behind it. One was that during a basketball game, a writer from Lincoln referred to us as “The Jeffs” which is short for Jefferson County. A second theory is that Greg McBride later in the 1930′s did an article and referred to us as “The Jeffs” as well, and made reference to a “Mutt and Jeff” cartoon. In the mid 30′s, we used to be referred to as “The Crimson”. Then, about a year later, after all of this, maybe around 1936, they started referring to us as “The Jeffs”. So, “Mutt and Jeff” is where this came from. To my knowledge, “The Jeff Man” is the only one of its kind in the United States, and he gets quite a bit of attention wherever we go.”

“The Jeff Man” is beloved in the community, and you can see him on the water tower when you drive into town. “There is a lot of pride because it’s so unique,” Molloy said. “It stands out. You can see it throughout our school. You can see some of the history behind it in our trophy cases and how it’s changed over time.”

Along with “The Jeff Man”, the community is very proud of the local school system itself. “When you have one school system available, there is a lot of pride,” Molloy said. “You have kids in elementary school who idolize the students in high school, and they want to be a part of the Jeff Pride that goes behind everything that we do. We have tons of support from the community. Our Junior-Senior High building is just shy of 400 students. It’s big enough, where class sizes range from 65 to 75 students, and we are able to offer a wide range of opportunities for students. But we are small enough where you can know everyone, you can know the teachers really well, and there is a great community within the building.”

Molloy made sure to thank Jed Martin, who is on staff as an English teacher. Martin helped provide some of the research on the history of “The Jeff Man” for this interview. The next time you see a Fairbury school team either on the field or on the stage, make sure you look for that iconic “Jeff Man” logo!