Spirit Squads

History of the Wright State Mascot
Release: Wednesday 07/27/2011 
by WSU Athletic Media Relations




Wright State has struggled to decide what the mascot is since it started playing varsity basketball in 1970. A student contest determined Wright State's colors would be hunter green and gold and the school nickname would be "Raiders". Mike Zink, Equipment Manger for the school's athletic teams, says that contest was held in 1972. However, the Raiders nickname was used as early as 1970 and became official in 1971. Legend says the colors came from the NFL's Green Bay Packers and the nickname from the Oakland Raiders, both popular - and winning - teams at the time. Even with the nickname, there was a problem matching a mascot. An early program rendering showed a pirate with a bandana and eye patch. In 1986, a roly-poly Viking emerged as the university's official mascot - complete with horned helmet, red beard and a dubious link to the nickname.



In 1996, in a drive to update and eliminate singular gender considerations, a marketing firm was hired to come up with a new mascot, and the WSU wolf was born. So, in 1997, WSU athletics retired the "Viking" Rowdy and introduced the wolf as its official mascot. "We wanted a symbol that would take us into the future," said Iris Harvey, WSU assistant vice-president of communications and marketing. Too much equity had been spent on the Raiders nickname to change that. Did you know WSU - founded in 1964 - is the only state school in Ohio named after a person or persons (the flight-inventing Wright brothers)? Flight-oriented names were shunned in deference to crosstown University of Dayton, whose teams are known as the Flyers.



On January 11, 2007, Wright State unveiled an updated version of the mascot, a "fierce" and "buff" gray wolf. The old brown wolf prowling the sidelines is now black, gray and white, with claws for his feet and hands. 

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