March Madness 2018: NCAA Dog Mascots We Love
The NCAA Tournament means basketball and brackets, but the Good Dog Hotel & Spa loves those canine mascots, too.
The Good Dog Hotel & Spa team in Broad Ripple is thrilled that March Madness is finally happening. Yes, we love NCAA basketball and can’t wait to watch the games. But we also get excited for all the basketball teams, especially for our Indiana teams: Butler and Purdue Universities.
We are especially happy for our friend Butler Blue III, the official Butler Bulldog mascot. He frequently comes to see us for baths and a little TLC, and we know he’s ready for some tournament action (even though live mascots aren’t officially allowed inside the arena for games). And speaking of mascots and games, Good Dog Hotel & Spa Ambassador Tiki wanted to know if there are any other mascots of the canine variety in the tournament this year.
We found more than a few. Take a look at some of the dog or dog-related mascots that’ll be hoping for some big wins.
NCAA Tournament Dog and Dog-Related Mascots
Butler Blue III, Butler University – Butler University has a long tradition of live mascots, and that tradition continues today with Butler Blue III, aka “Trip.” He is the current Official Live Mascot of Butler, and was born on December 23, 2011. His favorite activities include attending basketball games at Hinkle Fieldhouse, hanging out with his two human brothers, and bath time. To find out more about Butler’s mascot history, visit the Butler University website.
Mr. & Mrs. Wuf, North Carolina State University – The story goes that in the 1910s, the NC State basketball team became known as the Red Terrors, and a bull terrier named Togo was the mascot. But in 1921, the football team was nicknamed “the Wolfpack,” apparently because they were so unruly. And so naturally, a wolf mascot followed. In 1981, the male mascot was named Mr. Wuf, and soon after, the female version was named Mrs. Wuf. The two were married (joined in “canis matrimonium”) in a mock wedding ceremony the same year by the Wake Forest Demon Deacon mascot during halftime of a Men’s Basketball game at Reynolds Coliseum. You just can’t make this stuff up. See the NCSU Timelines for more details.
True Grit, University of Maryland, Baltimore County – The official mascot of UMBC is the Chesapeake Bay retriever. A costumed mascot was introduced in the late 1990s, and goes by the name of True Grit (but was originally Fever the Retriever). The selection of the retriever is one that has deep state ties, particularly the Chesapeake Bay breed. The Chesapeake Bay retriever is Maryland’s state dog, declared so in 1964. According to the AKC, characteristics of a Chesapeake Bay retriever, also known as “Chessies,” include being affectionate and bright. They are known historically for hunting waterfowl, and having prowess in rough, icy water. Here’s more on the history of UMBC’s mascot.
LU Wolf, Loyola University Chicago – Athletic teams at Loyola University Chicago didn’t have much of a nickname until the 1920s, when they became known as the Ramblers. Their first short-lived mascot was Bo Ramblers, short for “hobo.” In 1990, Loyola stopped using Bo, citing the rationale that a homeless man didn’t seem to be a fitting mascot for a top-notch university. The university instead introduced its new and current mascot, LU Wolf, in recognition of the animal’s association with St. Ignatius.
Smokey, University of Tennessee – In 1953, the University of Tennessee Volunteers held a contest to select a live mascot. According to announcements, “This can’t be an ordinary hound. He must be a ‘Houn’ Dog’ in the best sense of the word.” At halftime of a football game, contenders were brought on the field. The very last dog announced was a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey, who barked when his name was called. The students burst into applause, which made Smokey howl louder – and the rest is history. Read more fun facts about Smokey here.
Alphie, Wolfie Jr. and Luna, University of Nevada, Reno – The athletic teams at the University of Nevada, Reno didn’t have a nickname that stuck until 1922, when the student body decided on the Desert Wolves, which later transformed into just the Wolves, and finally, the Wolf Pack. Throughout most of the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, the wolf mascot was played by students wearing awkward wolf-head costumes made with fake fur or papier-mâché. In 1982, the University finally adopted Wolfie, the wolf mascot characterized by his pointy ears and UNR top hat. In 2003, Alphie took over as mascot, with Wolfie Jr. joining in 2007. Luna, a female-wolf mascot, completed the pack in 2013. For a visual history, visit this website.
Spike, Gonzaga University – In Gonzaga University’s early football history, the teams were called the “Blue and Whites” or “The Fighting Irish.” After a football game in 1921, a reporter wrote that Gonzaga fought tenaciously like bulldogs. Thus, that description became the new mascot. Over the years, Gonzaga has had numerous live bulldogs as mascots. The first costumed bulldog mascot named Spike was introduced in 1985. In 2000, Spike rose to national prominence when he was among a group of mascots that appeared in Nike’s “Welcome to Bracketville” promotional commercials for the NCAA Tournament. For more information about Spike, visit the Gonzaga athletics website.
Wolverines, University of Michigan – While the University of Michigan is known unofficially as the Wolverines, the university does not have a live mascot. In fact, the Athletic Department has steadfastly maintained that such a symbol is unnecessary and undignified, and would not properly reflect the spirit and values of Michigan athletics. Michigan briefly had a Wolverine mascot in costume during the mid 1980s and then again during the mid 1990s before being retired. The school continues to rely on the wolverine itself as the symbol of Michigan sports. For University of Michigan history and traditions, visit here.
Reveille, Texas A&M University – Reveille, a full-blooded collie, is known as the First Lady of Aggieland and is Texas A&M’s official mascot. As the highest-ranking member of Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets, Reveille is part of a rich tradition. “Miss Rev,” as cadets address her, is immensely popular and can be seen around campus, in class, or attending a number of events. Because of her rank, if Miss Rev falls asleep in a cadet’s bed, the cadet must find somewhere else to sleep since she outranks him. Tradition also dictates that if Reveille is in class and barks, the professor should end class because Miss Rev is bored. Find out more about Reveille right here.