After years of student anticipation for the arrival of an identifiable spirit leader, the A.S. Council and the Athletic Department finally revealed the new Triton Mascot Saturday, Jan. 20 at halftime of the UCSD men’s basketball game against California State University Dominguez Hills.
Assistant Athletic Director Ken Grosse said that the new costume stands about 6’5″” with an oversized head, a toga-like outfit, flowing hair, a beard and long muscular legs.
“”People will really be impressed,”” said A.S. President Doc Khaleghi. “”I am proud to be at a school that has this mascot.””
The Triton has always been the school’s nickname, although no mascot existed until recently.
The first costume ideas were designed by previous A.S. President Tesh Khullar, along with A.S. Marketing Director Tracie Davie, Triton Tide leader Matt Deford and Grosse.
The final two designs were finalized last summer after Khullar graduated and Khaleghi took over as A.S. President and member of the committee.
The two remaining ideas were sent to the Utah-based company Alincoe Costume who made the final product after reviewing the committee’s two designs. The costume cost approximately $5,000 to make.
The faculty expressed excitement over the new addition to the school, as it represents a rare joint project between the Associated Students and the athletic department.
“”Overall, I think it’s going to be a great addition to the campus and should benefit a lot of people,”” Grosse said. “”The process of making it a reality will hopefully be the first in a long line of collaborative efforts between athletics and the A.S., as well as other UCSD organizations.””
Currently the A.S. Council and the athletic department plan on the mascot performing at halftime shows at basketball games and during intermissions in volleyball. In his first appearance, the mascot drew a large crowd and kept the fans energetic throughout the game.
Khaleghi said the mascot’s first appearance was a success.
“”I think the students loved him,”” Khaleghi said. “”It was one of the most impressive turnouts I have seen for a home game.””
Khaleghi said that he thinks the response will be even better once a full-time trained mascot is found. Student tryouts will be held sometime in the near future and the winner will attend mascot camp.
In addition, Grosse said that once the mascot becomes more mainstream on campus, it will begin to participate in other school activities.
“”We anticipate and want to have the mascot do a variety of appearances on and off campus,”” he said. “”The nonathletic and off-campus appearances will probably be limited at first as we get the mascot comfortable in its role, learn what works and what doesn’t and see what opportunities are available.””
Athletic Director Earl Edwards said these appearances are important because they will boost school spirit and give the school something it has never had.
“”Most schools have a mascot and we didn’t have one,”” he said. “”We need to start making an identity that is reflected upon our school.””
It is hoped that the mascot will provide the new energy and fan support that Khaleghi believes is needed to compete in Division II.
“”Eighty-six percent of students wanted to make the jump to Division II,”” he said. “”Now we need to support our teams in every way possible and the mascot is one of those ways. We need to have the spirit and support that other Division II schools get.””