Mascot Bracket: Sparty vs WuShock
YOUniversityTV is creating a “March Madness” of their own! We are on a mission to find the best college mascot and your votes will decide the winner. We seeded the top 32 mascots in college and your votes will decide who goes onto the next round. First up, is #1 seed Sparty from Michigan State University versus #32 seed WuShock from Wichita State University.
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.
Until 1948, the university used a nameless shock of wheat as its symbol. In 1948, junior Wilbur Elsea won the Kappa Pi honorary society’s competition to design a mascot typifying the spirit of the school. Elsea, who had been a marine during World War II, decided that “the school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression, with a serious, no-nonsense scowl.” Once Elsea’s mascot was adopted, all that was needed was a name. The Oct. 7, 1948, issue of The Sunflower, the student newspaper, ran an advertisement urging students to submit names for the school’s new mascot. It was freshman Jack Kersting who suggested the winning name, “WuShock.” In 1998, WuShock, also referred to as “Wu,” marked his 50th birthday by undergoing a redesign and getting a pumped-up physique and revved-up attitude. The mascot’s costume has changed over the years, as well. With the redesign, a new costume was introduced in fall 1998. In fall 1999, the head of the new costume underwent another redesign after a number of supporters suggested the mascot needed a more intimidating look. In 2006 it was decided to once again update the Wu costume. The general consensus was that many wanted the costume to more accurately reflect the depiction of WU in the school’s logo. The new WuShock now has the ability to run, jump, and walk up stairs without help. Many officials feel that a more professional and intimidating mascot on the field will certainly bolster WSU’s image.