James Madison unveiled its new basketball court over the weekend, and it prominently features the Duke Dog (see above). FTW calls it “hideous” and SI calls it “not good”, but I disagree, mostly because you can never have too much Duke Dog. (Go Dukes!)
The Duke Dog is a cuddly fuzzball, you see, so much so that my daughter has a toy one somewhere under the mountain of stuffed animals on her bed. But it wasn’t always such a hit with the kids. Here’s how it looked back in 1973, according to JMU’s Duke Dog web page:
AHHHH, KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
The story behind this demon who probably killed both of those cheerleaders and then ate the royal bulldog for dessert is found on another JMU web page that looks like it was designed by one of my Mass Comm classmates in 1998:
The Duke Dog mascot as we know him today first appeared in the 1982-83 basketball season. There had been an earlier version of the Duke Dog mascot. A wild-eyed – and totally unconvincing – mascot first appeared in the 1972-73 basketball season but failed to generate any support for continued existence.
I wonder why it “failed to generate any support for continued existence”? Probably because co-eds kept disappearing in the Shenandoah Valley.
In any event, let this be a reminder that mascots are frightening and will haunt you forever, even those that are 40 years gone and hardly existed to begin with.