Mascot Bracket Round 2: Top-seeded Sparty versus Willie the Wildcat
Sparty is the mascot of Michigan State University. Sparty is usually depicted as a muscular male Spartan warrior/athlete dressed in stylized Greek costume. After changing the team name from “Aggies” to “Spartans” in 1925, various incarnations of a Spartan warrior with a prominent chin appeared at university events and in university literature. In 1943, MSU art professor Leonard D. Jungwirth designed a statue for the university, which had to be cast in terra cotta because of World War IIrationing. In 2005, the university replaced Jungwirth’s original statue with a bronze replica, moving the original indoors to protect it from the elements. Sparty appears in several other incarnations. In printed literature, the university uses a copyrighted cartoon Spartan, usually drawn with a grimace and several days worth of whiskers, lending the nickname of “Gruff” Sparty. Finally, Sparty appears as a foam rubber mascot with an oversized head. The mascot costume, worn by an anonymous student, appears at most university sporting, alumni, and fundraising events; he is often portrayed in MSU notices and materials. Watch the Michigan State college video tour here!
Willie the Wildcat is the official mascot for the Kansas State University Wildcats. In 1989, the Powercat logo was introduced by football coach Bill Snyder, wanting a new logo for his team. Tom Bookwalter, a Kansas native and K-State art professor, created the logo. In 1997, the current “21st Century” Willie was created. Willie has gray fur, with two white stripes to resemble the Powercat logo. This head weighs five pounds. Willie can be seen at various K-State sporting events, often dressed as an athlete. The student inside the mascot costume (whose identity is kept secret) changes every few years, and the persona of Willie has remained the same throughout. Willie has been known to crowd surf and he also does one push-up for each point on the board for K-State when the Wildcats score a touchdown or make a field goal. Watch the Kansas State college video tour here!