Mascot Bracket Final Four: Sebastian the Ibis versus Purdue Pete
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.
Purdue Pete is a mascot of Purdue University. Despite his visible and constant on-field presence at Purdue sporting events, Pete is not the official mascot of the university. The official mascot of Purdue is the Boilermaker Special. Purdue Pete was first designed as a logo by the University Bookstore in 1940. They would put it on their products and portray him dressed up in different clothes for the different majors. He got the Purdue part of his name from Purdue University. The owners of the bookstores gave him the name “Pete”, yet no one officially knows why this was chosen to be his name. He was given a physical identity in 1956 as he came out and helped the students cheer at a pep rally. Over the years, the appearance of Purdue Pete has gone under several drastic changes as well as several minor changes. His original head was made of paper-mâché, pasted onto a chicken wire frame. This was very inconvenient for the person who would be underneath because it would limit his movements, yet he was still expected to move around and do stunts. This head was changed to a giant fiberglass head where the person inside would use a harness to support it. This was impractical due to the sheer size of it. In the 1980s, Purdue Pete acquired the appearance he is now associated with. Proposals to switch to a soft-sculpture costume were rejected in 2006 and 2011.