By Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
Assistant News Editor
With Providence College’s Centennial Celebration in full swing, last week Friar Athletics unveiled the newest addition to the Friar Family: a Dalmatian mascot. According to Athletic Director Robert Driscoll, Friar Athletics will use both the Dalmatian and Friar Dom at games and events. “We are really excited about the positive reaction to the new Dalmatian mascot,” he said.
According to Erin James ’19, a member of the cheerleading team, the mascots, cheerleaders, and dance squad make up the Spirit Squad, who work together to pump up the crowd. “The mascot really helps get the crowd engaged with us with cheers,” she said. The Dalmatian was introduced to the Spirit Squad last Wednesday at a PC men’s basketball game against St. Johns.
“We felt that we needed a second mascot that could be more athletic and could give us another representative to interact with the fans,” said Driscoll. Unlike Friar Dom, who may have difficulty with athletic flips due to the nature of his costume, fans can expect the Dalmatian to be very athletic in his fan interactions. “We feel that having two mascots gives us the opportunity to interact more with fans and the new Dalmatian is able to perform athletic stunts during games,” said Driscoll.
Driscoll, Father Brian Shanley, O.P., and the Centennial Committee were actively involved in bringing the Dalmatian mascot back. According to Driscoll, the Centennial Committee was very supportive during the process and helped with funding to purchase the new mascot.
“The Dalmatian tied in well with the Centennial celebration as there is so much history of the Friar mascot at Providence College,” explained Driscoll. A real Dalmatian was actually the College’s first mascot with the name “Friar of What-Ho,” and first appeared at a Providence football game in 1935. Friar of What-Ho was cared for by members of the Friars Club and the Dominican brothers, as the Dominicans have often been referred to as the “watchdogs of the Lord.”
After the passing of Friar of What-Ho, a new Dalmatian, Friar Boy, was introduced to the College and four generations of Friar Boy lived on the College campus. The death of Friar Boy IV in 1963, eventually led to the Friar mascot students know today as Friar Dom. In 1993, the use of a Dalmatian was reintroduced to PC as Friar Boy V and was introduced by Brother Kevin O’Connell, O.P., the moderator of the Friars Club. A “Keeper of the Dog” position was actually created within the Friars Club, and the student selected would assist Brother Kevin in caring for the Dalmatian.
Many students are excited about the new mascot due to its ties with the College’s past. “I love the new mascot,” said Will Oser ’19, sophomore class vice president. “It brought back the idea of tradition and its very neat to see the combination of the old and new being reflected in our mascot.” Being the College’s 100th Anniversary, flashbacks are abundant on campus. Oser explained how the sophomore class has been planning on selling t-shirts with a Dalmatian even before the new mascot was unveiled.
“I think students are going to enjoy having the Dalmatian around,” said James. “It’s different and it adds to the excitement of PC’s 100th year.” She explained that by bringing the Dalmatian back, it shows that PC prides itself with its traditions.
The Dalmatian is currently unnamed, but Friars Athletics is holding a name the mascot contest via Twitter. Fans are encouraged to Tweet their ideas and suggestions to @PCAthletics with #PC100 to enter.
For advent fans who may worry what this all means for Friar Dom, there is nothing to fear. He is here to stay and so is the new Dalmatian. “I think when students see how well Friar Dom and the Dalmatian complement each other, they will want to keep them both around,” said James.