Mascot Bracket: Sebastian the Ibis versus Cocky
The ibis was chosen as University of Miami’s unofficial mascot by Nathan Duncan in 1926 when the school’s yearbook chose its name to be “The Ibis.” “Miami adopted a native marsh bird called the Ibis as the official mascot in 1926. The Ibis is known for its bravery as a hurricane approaches. Folklore maintains that other birds look to the Ibis for leadership. The Ibis uses its instinct to detect danger. It is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits, giving warning that danger is imminent. As the storm passes the Ibis is the first to reappear, a sign that clear skies are approaching.” The first official mascot for the Miami Hurricanes was a 65-pound brown and white boxer dog named Hurricane I. Chosen in 1950, the canine wore a ceremonial orange and green blanket with his name lettered in white. Sebastian was created in August 1957 by Norman A. Whitten, Director of the Student Union at UM, and was used as a homecoming competition entry. The next year, student John Stormont performed at Hurricanes football games dressed up in a makeshift ibis costume. The current costume dates from 1984. The mascot was named after the San Sebastian building, which became a University dormitory in 1939. The building, now an apartment building, still stands at the intersection of LeJeune Road and University Drive in Coral Gables.
Cocky is the costumed mascot of the University of South Carolina athletics teams. He represents a cartoon version of a gamecock (a fighting rooster). The current version of Cocky made his debut, by Robert Lane, at the Homecoming game of 1980. He was portrayed as the son of Big Spur, a large, gangly barn yard rooster that had been attending games since 1978 as a mascot of the university. Big Spur had been introduced as a fraternity pledge class project headed by student Chuck Eaton. Eaton served as the mascot from 1978 until 1980 when the role was taken over by USC students Robert Lane and John Routh. Big Spur was seen as too large and unwieldy with limited mobility. Therefore, Cocky, Big Spur’s “son”, was brought in to replace Big Spur. At the introduction of Cocky, he was originally booed off the field by students and fans who thought he was not “dignified enough”. The original Cocky was John Routh, 1980-1982, who became the mascot for the University of Miami, and later became Billy the Marlin for the Florida Marlins. Charlie Fitzsimmons followed in 1983-1985. The anonymous JH had the longest tenure from 1985–1992. He redesigned Cocky from the inside-out to allow for more mobility and a kinder more adroit, cartoon-like character. He was fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), which delighted audiences. In the summer of 1985 at the Universal Cheerleading Summer Mascot Camp, he was voted by the other college mascots as the Best Of The Best, and received the Master Key to Spirit Trophy.