DU's Mascot Survey Ends In Failure

From: Denver Post
Re: Caitlin Swieca

After a months-long controversy surrounding the University of Denver's mascot, the DU Pioneers community has spoken and said it would prefer to have no mascot at all. 

The news came as DU's Mascot Steering Committee announced the findings of its research on Friday and recommended that none of the considered mascots move forward as they are currently designed.

A survey containing three mascot options— an elk, a jackalope and a mountaineer — was sent to DU students and alumni in July, asking them to evaluate the concepts against 20 attributes of the DU community.

More than 8,000 community members participated in the survey, more than three times the expected response. The release by the committee said that nearly 70 percent of respondents were either receptive or neutral to moving forward with a new mascot, but were not aligned on what that mascot should be.
The mountain explorer and elk options performed the best, but neither gained a consensus.

The controversy began in March, when chancellor Robert Coombe announced that Denver Boone, the school's official mascot until 1998, would not be considered by the committee. In a letter to students and alumni, Coombe said that Boone "did not reflect the growing diversity of the DU community."

The concepts were created after the committee conducted over 45 focus groups, 15 open forums and a number of one-on-one interviews with alumni, students and faculty. The mascot committee had 76 members — more than the Colorado state Senate, state House or the final Broncos roster.

DU has not had an official mascot since the 2007-08 season.


Anonymous said...

Is the blog back from its self-imposed martyrdom?

dggoddard said...

You never know. The "self imposed martydom break" has been cleansing.

This article is "house cleaning" to tidy up some loose ends.

Boone costume was sent to mascot cleaning service yesterday for repair. Boone's boots were checked into a shoe hospital for retreading, repair and upgrading.

timt89 said...

Now I hope we can focus on supporting winning teams instead of fighting our own administration. What a total waste of time and effort.

As for the 'self imposed martyrdom' comment, that must be from a 'self-imposed saddist' if they are constantly monitoring a dead blog and then, complain when something is said or written.

Anonymous said...

Hope you are back...have really missed the blog!

Anonymous said...

DG's mower racing season must have concluded.

miller said...

Sounds to me like Boone is preparing for his comeback tour.

dggoddard said...

According to Channel 9 some numbers were released from the survey.

These numbers match up with what I've heard elsewhere. The Mountaineer received the most "votes".


Under DU's arbitrary scoring system a survey respondent who scored any mascot over "50" on a 1 to 100 scales was given a positive vote. The Mountaineer was 41%, Elk 40% & Jackalope 9%.

"One of two renderings of an elk mascot received a median score of 40 out of 100, as did one of two drawings of a "mountain explorer." Those were the highest median scores.

Both versions of a jackalope mascot got paltry median scores of 9 out of 100.

Denver Boone is not being considered as a candidate for mascot. A DU spokeswoman did not answer when asked if DU has ever done polling on Boone's popularity.

Asked whether they were receptive to a new DU mascot, 51 percent responded they were receptive, 31 percent said they were not."

achsdu17 said...

Way to waste money that could of gone to scholarships or help improving programs. Man those higher ups know how to embarrass themselves and our school.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I don't think the mascot survey was a failure - I'd call it serious victory for Boone fans, and a failure for the University.

DU thought they could ride summer apathy to ramrod an elk down our throats. But at the end of the day, a triangulation of factors put an end to the charade.

1) Bad Press: DU got loads of its this summer - the Gwoz firing, the Law School Discrimination story and tons of pro--Boone mascot stories put them on the defensive. They were never able to defend the Boone decision, and it looked bad.
The role of social media also played a big role in this as well. Anti-Boone forces mostly cowered on social media, while pro-Boone forces out-numbered them 10 or 20 to 1.

2) Incompetence: Student misconduct in stupidly pressuring the Clarion not to run its poll, appearances of self interest by one of the mascot change leaders as fledgling designer, and poor official PR statements on DU's side also hurt their case.

3) The Board of Trustees shot holes into the mascot leadership as well, and they never really recovered.

I think DU has learned a lot of lessons, and don't underestimate the vigorous and relentless responses by pro-Boone people keeping the flame burning.

Maureen said...

Oh brother! Oops, is that politically incorrect now, too?
-Boone '87

Anonymous said...

anon. 5:54
Actually, this would make a good case study for the MBA students at Danials.

Anonymous said...

DG may continue to train young men don the big styrafoam head. Boone lives!

Anonymous said...

I missed you.

Dunker said...

Nice to see your post DG. Many alums I know have been in the dark without your blog. They are not signed up for DU Facebook sites nor do they get them in their emails.
The above responses do show that people check out your blog from time to time looking for signs of life.
If done respectfully, a Boone comeback of some kind seems possible.

Anonymous said...

Boone lives! Fire Peg!!!

achsdu17 said...

I'd fire the whole lot in the higher ups. They made a huge joke of our school.

Anonymous said...


timt89 said...

The problem does not rest with the athletic department. It clearly resides with the 'academic' side of the house. The athletic department has put good teams on the ice, fields, and courts. Unfortunately, the athletic department had to navagate this mess. Equal responsibility goes to the student leaders who ignored their stakeholders while trying to please an out-of-control administration.

Anonymous said...

Peg had nothing to do the current mascot problem-- In fact, of all the DU administrators, she has been the most supportive of Boone. She was asked to head up this recent mascot search process by the Chancellor and she declined it! She knew it was dead end. That's why the project went to Kevin Carroll and the overall University Communications department, who have botched it since.

Sorry, but when it comes to Peg, her achievements far outweigh her bad decisions. People want to blame her for firing Gwoz, but Gwoz was not blameless, either. His refusal to switch his contract structure and his difficult dealings with many inside DU led to the firing as much as his on-ice record did.

You judge an AD by the overall state of the sports program, not the firing on one coach. How is the program overall? Honestly, never better.

DU is the top performing D-I school without football in the country in 5 of the last 6 years,including this year. She graduates 90% of the athletes, the department has a 3.3 GPA and the kids stay out of trouble. Before Peg, DU was a 1-2 sport school (hockey and skiing). Now, we also have top a 5 lax program, a surging basketball program, and regular NCAA tourney teams in gymnastics, men's soccer, women's soccer, women's lax, etc.

Is she perfect? No. I don't like the Gwoz firing either, but sometimes, contract disputes and bad feelings end in firings. Happens in business all the time.

When you look at the big picture, DU will be fine an Peg is doing an outstanding job. Name one other department or division at DU that is the best in the country in it's field. DU athletics is the only top-rated program at DU.

Anonymous said...

By far, the single most important sport step D.U. took over the last many, many years was replacing Dianne Murphy(UGH) with Peg Doopes.
Difference between the proverbial night and day in leadership.

Anonymous said...

True. Under Dianne, DU won back to back hockey championships, the ski team regained it's dominance and gymnastics was one of the top programs in the country. Dianne fought to bring our current coach and lacrosse as a sport to the forefront of Pioneer athletics. Peg fired Gwoz and is trying to replace hockey wih basketball as our flagship sport. DU has the worst college basketball team in the state with the lowest attendance to match the quality of play. Yep, night and day.

Fire the DOPpES!

timt89 said...

Dianne Murphy was excellent. She decided to leave DU so she had to be replaced. Peg has done a good job.

I hope recent events don't take us away from the goal to put together winning teams. We need to stop the whining and complaining and support the Denver Pioneers. Replaying all this stuff over and over again is a waste of time. Peg is not going to get fired- we just won the Directors Cup! Lets get positive (and realistic).

Anonymous said...

Hey! It's back! The post is rockin like old times.

Anonymous said...

I heard Peg wants to reduce the emphasis on soccer to bring back baseball. DU hasn't been able to establish a significant relationship with the Rapids and they have valuable connections with the Rockies management.

Anonymous said...

Murphy bailed on DU after the 2004 season. Peg was in place for the 2005 hockey title.

DU is trying to grow basketball because its the only way to get to decent conference affiliation and long term revenue. Hockey may earn a profit, but the growth profile is limited. If DU were to get to the NCAA hoops tourney and win a game or two, the net to DU is worth far more than hockey could produce.

DU hoops was not the worst D-I teem in the state. DU finished ahead of UNC and Air Force last year in the RPI and were in the top 100 Nationally. The Pios s finished with 22 wins and a conference coo- championship. They won an NIT game and gave e ACC power Maryland a serious scare at College park.

Ring_of_Fire said...

Baseball won't happen at DU.

Not for the foreseeable future, anyway.

The following reasons merely scratch the surface as to why....

1) The upfront investment... Baseball requires an (essentially) single-use stadium and specialized training facilities, neither of which DU currently has. Building them from scratch would be an investment of nearly Penn State-ian proportions and, unless you know someone I don't, the money just isn't there.

2) Lack of sufficient support resources... Baseball teams are large. There are a bunch of athletes, that require a bunch of resources that the athletic department, frankly, doesn't currently have.

3) Compliance with Title IX... Title IX means that adding baseball would require DU also add a Women's sport that, itself, would require money, time, and resources that, again, the athletic department doesn't currently have.

4) Logistics and geographics... The college baseball season starts in mid-February. This means that DU would have to play the vast majority (if not all...) of its games on the road for the first 8 weeks of the season, because of the potential for inclement weather in Denver. And snow-outs would remain a possibility all the way through the end of April. That's a hassle, mixed with a pain, wrapped up in a kerfuffle...and one that DU, frankly, isn't equipped to manage.

Now then, the rumor around the campfire was that DU MIGHT be able to overcome the West Coast Conference's reluctance to extend a bid to a school from Colorado IF it agreed to add baseball and Women's Cross Country. But, as PBD made reference to when discussing the move to the Summit League, finding a conference home that embraced DU's "current mix of sports" was a paramount concern.

To me, that speaks volumes...

dggoddard said...

All you need to know about Diane Murphy is Columbia's football team.

They have never had a winning record under her watch and probably averaged three wins a year.

Like Coombe, she'll never get another D-1 gig so she's stuck at Columbia and Columbia is stuck with her.

Peg delivered Tierney, so that's a pretty huge feather in her cap.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know all that you need to know about D.M. ask the people who worked for her here at D.U. You will get an earful.

Anonymous said...

Ha, replacing soccer with baseball, because DU has a better relationship with the Rockies than with the rapids! That's some hilarious stuff, but I admire the creativity it took to make that up!

Peg has done an OUTSTANDING job. Those who disagree likely have an axe to grind, and they are barking up the wrong tree. I don't mix metaphors often. But when I do, it is on the LetsgoDU blog.

Anonymous said...

Firing Gwoz ... yep, I have an ax to grind. Off with her head!