LMU is always knocked for its lack of school spirit. Comparing our attendance at home athletic events to UCLA or the University of Southern California (USC) can be embarrassing if we dissect the numbers. However, it is seldom asked why and how the athletic department can improve relations with its students and fans.
Promotions are often viewed as a way to get people to the game, but how often do we look to the mascots to inspire the crowd and give LMU a true home-court advantage? I stay within the West Coast Conference (WCC) and determine which is the best mascot of them all:
9. The Dons (University of San Francisco)
I’m not even sure what a “don” technically is. Dictionary.com says it’s a person of importance. There is no official mascot for the university, none that is a part of the athletic program. The colors are green and gold, which is kind of cool, but thumbs down to a Division I program with rich history not putting some money into a mascot for students to rally behind. Although I hate to admit it, they are below Pepperdine University on my list.
8. Willie the Wave (Pepperdine University)
Where do I begin with this one? The Pepperdine Waves, who reside in beautiful Malibu, Calif. adjacent to the majestic hills of the Southern California coastline, absolutely blew it with their mascot design. The image is just creepy, like a moldy french fry. When I think of a horror film, Willie is a likely antagonist. I’m not one to judge because I couldn’t draw a straight line if my life depended on it, but the design on Pepperdine’s mascot is horrendous. The only reason it isn’t absolutely last on my list is because at least the university has one. This is just one more reason why I can continue to look at Pepperdine as the school I’m so glad I never went to.
7. Wally Pilot (University of Portland)
This mascot looks virtually identical to St. Mary’s College, except the reason why it’s lower on the list is because the athletic program is not even close to that of St. Mary’s College. Thumbs down for copying the Gaels and thumbs double down for a poor athletic department.
6. Iggy the Lion (Loyola Marymount University)
People who know me know that I’m as big of an LMU fan as it gets. That being said, what disease does Iggy have? I’m not aware of any other Lion on this planet with a pale gray face and red hair. Not only is his appearance sub par, but Iggy doesn’t do much at athletic events. No dancing, no flips, really no interaction whatsoever. This isn’t as bad as some in the conference, but by no means is this a mascot worth bragging about.
5. Gael Force One (St. Mary’s College)
St. Mary’s College’s athletic department really blew it with its mascot choice. The design is a cheesy, smiling man with a bigger chin than Ranch Wilder from “Angels in the Outfield.” The mascot does offer a set of six-pack abs, but he’s just creepy. Thumbs up to the athletic department for the transformation of its athletic program, but thumbs down to the mascot.
4. Bucky the Bronco (Santa Clara University)
This is your standard mascot, which is why it’s smack dab in the middle of my list. There aren’t too many exciting things going on other than a brown horse, but it’s a solid option to get the crowd going. Santa Clara University is average in athletics, with its men’s basketball program having had a decent year, but just like the athletic program, Bucky is average.
3. Diego Torero (The University of San Diego)
Diego is climbing up the charts not only because of the performance of the athletic department, but also because Diego looks sweet. With the perfectly groomed mustache and 1800s light blue vest, Diego is sure to inspire.
2. Spike the Bulldog (Gonzaga University)
Gonzaga University is known for its dominant men’s basketball program. Gonzaga was the No. 1 team in the nation heading into this year’s NCAA Tournament and has been atop the WCC for nearly a decade. Both men and women’s basketball games sell out virtually every contest and Spike the Bulldog is a part of the Gonzaga faithful. One can rent Spike for both on-and off-campus events, making this mascot more popular than a D-list celebrity. A mascot’s success is nearly synonymous with its team’s performance and because of the dominant play by both men and women, Spike gets much more national attention and therefore climbs to No. 2 on my list.
1. Cosmo the Cougar (Brigham Young University)
This is a university that knows how to market its mascot. Not only does Brigham Young University (BYU) have Cosmo the Cougar at over 130 athletic events per year, but he even has his own vehicle, the Cosmobile, in which the mascot drives around, pumping up fans before games. During the actual contest, the cougar can be seen dancing to the music, interacting with cheerleaders and even doing flips and other gymnastic moves in order to spark the crowd for the BYU teams. The Provo, Utah university joined the WCC in all sports except football two years ago and brought with it a nationwide fan base that expects to win. Cosmo the Cougar is a part of that winning tradition. The position used to be a volunteer one, but now scholarships are available for Cosmo. Hands down the best mascot in the WCC.
This is the opinion of Dan Raffety, a junior communications study major from Eagle Rock, Calif. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.