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  • Writer's picture The Vindicator

The Weirdest College Mascots I’ve Ever Seen

A few of the more interesting college mascots in my opinion.

Written by Dan Perrine

"I think Magnus is a shady character."

College mascots. The cornerstone of what defines a university, as some may say. Without them, what would college be — a place for learning? No, we need college mascots. And most of the time, colleges will be represented by lovable or charming mascots that encapsulates the university's spirit or history. But every once in a while, I look at a college mascot and think to myself, “Who in their right mind approved this?” And that, my dear reader, is what I will be going over shortly: college mascots I’ve seen that are weird-looking, or just downright scary.

Friar Dom

Why don’t we start with the mascot who inspired this whole article: Friar Dom, the mascot of Providence College located in Providence, Rhode Island. The college’s original mascot was a live dalmatian they named Friar of What-Ho. This began in 1935, but by 1963, after the death of their fourth dalmatian mascot, the college decided to create a human mascot. Thus, you could say that Friar Dom was born! 

There’s nothing wrong with the mascot being a friar — I believe it represents the college well. What I find off about it is the face. Those big dark eyes feel like a window to his soul— however, his soul is an endless void of nothingness. And his smile is just as empty, as if   coerced by some force greater than his own. I suppose what makes him so off-putting to me is the fact that he appears depressed, like he’s forcing that smile. In short, seeing him doesn’t make me excited to watch college basketball. It makes me want to call the police. And I’m not sure if it’s for his or my own safety.

Sammy the Banana Slug

While on my search for more unusual-looking mascots, an outside source recommended checking out Sammy the Banana Slug of University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. The mascot was created in 1970, because they thought it was about time, I guess. And that’s it. That’s the reason why Sammy the Banana Slug was created. Are banana slugs native to the Santa Cruz area? Nope. They just thought that the qualities of the banana slug represented the university well. 

Now, I actually like the idea of a banana slug mascot due to its originality. However, something clearly went wrong with the physical mascot you see attending their events and such. To give the designers credit where credit is due, using a banana slug as a template for your costume doesn’t leave you with much to go off of. So, I like to believe they did the best with what they had. However, the result is an uncanny mess. The most off-putting aspect of the mascot is its bright yellow legs. I can now say with absolute certainty that slugs and legs are a horrible combination. Imagine if instead of being just a slimy line, its bottom half was legs, and it walked upright. I’d never go near nature ever again! Then top it all off by making it much larger and giving it a large, malicious smile, and you get Sammy the Banana Slug.

Stanford Tree

Now, I’m cheating a little bit with this one, because there are numerous variations of the Stanford Tree. To be fair, some of them are not half bad. However, I consider many of them to be more in line with the monsters in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Though I must say: a tree as your mascot? Really, Stanford? You need to get your act together. But I guess they didn’t have much better to choose from when the other two options were a manhole and a french fry. 

All this is besides the point — even if it was just a tree, that would be weird … but it would be fine. But some of these designs would have me searching for the nearest exit if I was ever alone in the same room as one of them. A popular design between the uglier ones seems to have a large, toothy smile entirely devoid of the happiness usually associated with a grin as big as theirs, along with just the deadest eyes you’ll ever see on a sentient being. It’s just a white circle with a tiny black dot in the middle! They must have called it a day after that, when they really should have gone back to the drawing board. Maybe I can’t blame them for looking off, when it’s obvious that they don’t have much of a budget when making these. Though, I guess that’s what happens when you make a new variant every year. Come on, Stanford: just pick a costume and stick with it!


No, I don’t think Magnus is scary-looking or even the slightest bit off-putting. I think Magnus looks pretty good, actually. But unlike his other mascot friends on this list, I didn’t put him here because of the way he looks. He’s at the top of my list because I think Magnus is a shady character. To put it quite simply, I don’t like him.

Let me tell you how it all started. I was in attendance at a Cleveland State basketball game last November. My friends and I were having a good time watching the players, dancers and cheerleaders razzle and dazzle us all with their spectacular moves. And then there's Magnus, walking about doing ordinary mascot things, just being a jolly good fellow all around. Or is he!? During one timeout, he came up into the student section and began high-fiving and taking pictures and selfies with everyone. I was so excited to meet him! But when he came around where I was sitting, he didn’t even notice me! He cast me aside like some moldy bread. Like I wasn’t worth his time! It was right then and there that I swore that I would have my vengeance. One day we’ll meet again Magnus — I swear it. And you can bet that I will get my picture taken with you, if it’s the last thing I do.

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