New players, a new team added to the conference, and now: a new mascot. Antonio Jones’16 will be present at home athletic events as the Beloit Buccaneer for the remainder of the 2012-2013 seasons.
The Student Athletic Advisory Committee made the proposal for the mascot preceding the introduction of Flood the Flood, an event to replace Midnight Madness.
“We thought it would be cool to have T-shirts thrown into the crowd every time a big shot was made,” says Sean Little’14, SAAC president. “We were thinking of dressing up Duncan Gills‘14 in a Buc outfit and having him throw them. However, when we discussed the idea with Peggy [Carl] she said that Antonio had already discussed the idea… so she ordered him the costume and we introduced it at Flood the Flood.”
Jones, who also plays football for Beloit, was the mascot at his high school and was looking for a way to generate fan spirit at games.
“During my time in football season, the team often came out flat and unprepared to play. I figured if we had enough school spirit then everything would be fine,” says Jones. “A small conversation with Peggy Carl about school spirit brought up the question, ‘What if we had a mascot?’”
Peggy Carl, director of athletics, then linked up Jones and Peggy Steffen, athletics business operations manager, and began to search online for the ideal Buc ensemble. “We purposely shied away from providing him with a foam or paper mache head so that he would not be too cartoon-y,” says Carl. “I think we have succeeded – wildly.”
Now Jones can be seen at the home basketball games, getting the crowd hyped by screaming “defense!” or encouraging them to be silent during free throws. Another new addition to the basketball season is that there are more half-time shows, so Jones has had the opportunity to vote on different competitions such as shoot-outs or ugly sweater contests.
“My hope is that the fans who walk in the door become more engaged in the game in front of them and I believe that has been evidenced already,” says Carl. “Antonio is doing a great job with this and seems to really enjoy his new role!”