Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Madness Mascots

It's that time of year. March Madness is the big event for all U.S. colleges and universities. This tournament showcases the talented teams and captures the team spirit of the fans. There is such a pure joy of competition and school pride that this event is incredible. It's impossible to know who will win, one can just make the best guess they can. Nothing is ever guaranteed. While I don't know who will be winning this year, I am fascinated by all of the different mascots the universities have.

Mascots are key to keeping the fans' and players' spirits up as well as providing entertainment during the game. Some of the more popular mascots are UGA the bulldog from the University of Georgia and Handsome Dan, the mascot of Yale.

There are 64 teams in the tournament. All of them have different mascots. Of these teams, 29 of these are animal mascots. Five of the animal mascots are dog mascots. All of these colleges have rich histories about their origins, so I will be focusing on the dog mascots from universities that are part of this tournament.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (#8 seed)

Gonzaga University is a Jesuit Catholic school in Spokane, Washinton that was founded in 1887. Spike the bulldog used to be a live mascot but changed to a human being dressing up in 1985. A special costume was made and Spike the bulldog came to life. Now he's a fixture at every game. In 2000, Spike gained national attention when he was chosen to participate with a group of mascots in Nike's "Welcome to Bracketville" advertising campaign for the NCAA Tourament.
Spike photo resource: Gonzaga University

Butler University (#5 seed)

Butler University is a private university located near Indianapolis, Indiana that was founded in 1855. In 2000, after going with many unofficial mascots, Butler Blue I was named as the school mascot. Butler Blue I served from 2000 to 2004, when she decided to retire. In choosing a dog as a replacement, a young puppy Butler Blue II (Butler Blue I's nephew) took over on May 20, 2004. Since then, Butler Blue has been a fixture at the university's sporting events and functions. He is a modern-day mascot who has his own blog and Twitter account.
Photo of Butler Blue II: Butler University

Georgetown (#3 seed)

Georgetown is one of the most historic universities in this country, having been founded in 1789. Many years ago, when all Georgetown students were required to study Greek and Latin, the University's teams were nicknamed "The Stonewalls." It is believed that a student, using Greek and Latin terms, started the cheer "Hoya Saxa!", which translates into "What Rocks!" The name proved popular and the term "Hoyas" was eventually adopted for all Georgetown teams. In 1962 Georgetown adopted the bulldog as its mascot. They were going to name the dog Hoya, but the dog refused to answer to anything but Jack. Therefore, the name Jack stuck. In 1979, the university decided to switch to a human mascot. In 1999 there was a push to bring back the dog mascot successfully brought back Jack. Now, both human mascot and bulldog represent Georgetown at university events. The current Jack has been bringing cheer to students, faculty and supporters since 2003.
Photo of Jack: Georgetown University

Washington Huskies (#11 seed)

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington has over 13 dogs as its mascot. The current dog is Dubs, a Siberian Husky. Born in 2008, Dubs loves what he does. He has five student handlers who help out on campus. Since it's a public university, they've established a fund to assist with his care. He even has his own blog. There's a special club just for kids 13 and under called Dub's Club. Last year, Dubs was named the top mascot of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Photo of Dubs From: University of Washington

Wofford University

Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Wofford University has a rich history and is well known as one of the standout private universities. It has been around since 1854. They have both a dog mascot and two costumed mascots, Boss and Lil' Ruff. In 1909, the university adopted a Pit Bull terrier as their permanent mascot. Since 2003, the Boston Terrier now represents them. The mascot is called Blitz but the real name of the female dog is Ayeryel. The owners named the dog after the Wofford University football coach, Bill Ayers. The school has a terrier club to support the student athletes of Wofford. It has over 2000 members.
Photo of Blitz II: Wofford University

Let's Discuss!

Do you plan to watch the March Madness tournament? Who is your favorite mascot?

Well, thanks to you all for stopping in. Normally, I post earlier in the day but due to laptop issues, I was delayed in getting this up. I hope you all are enjoying the day.


  1. I think it's great that you wrote about this, not so much because of the dog-related theme but because of the importance sports mascots play in entertaining crowds whenever the game is interrupted. A good mascot is played by someone who has a knack for being an entertainer and engaging the crowd, regardless of what the mascot actually is. I've seen this time and time again during my UIC Pavilion days.

  2. Thanks Pat. I totally agree with you about how good mascots entertain the crowd. It makes the sport more of an event rather than a game, no matter what kind of mascot they use.



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