The Mascot

1890s - 1968

Northern Illinois University's athletics mascot wasn't always a Huskie dog.

In almost a century of intercollegiate competition, old "Nl" has been identified with several nicknames.

Profs was a monicker used in the early days, an obvious expression of the institution's mission as a teacher's college. Cardinals stuck in the 1920s, probably due to the school's jersey colors.

The Evansmen tag became a cognomen in the 1930s, a reverent recognition of athletics pioneer George G. "Chick" Evans. Other more provincial terms included Northerners and Teachers.

In 1940, a four-man committee of Evans, Harold Taxman, Walter Lorimer, and Harry Telman, all members of the Varsity Club, was appointed to search for "... a term with a trifle more dash..."

After much debate, a final accord was reached as reported in a three-paragraph story on page three of the January 25,1940 Northern Illinois, the student newspaper and forerunner of The Northern Star.

"Not only does the term have color and meaning, but it is particularly apt as in regard to NI's varsity teams," the unsigned article noted.

"From now on the word 'Huskies' will be used constantly in this paper and in other papers to indicate our athletics squads."



2001 - Present

Since being elevated to National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I status in the late 1960s, the Northern Illinois mascot has had several incarnations-a series of real dogs, a "live" Victor E. Huskie in costume, and several line drawing logo versions. Probably the most popular logo among the Baby Boomers set would be the "fighting" Huskie in the boxer's stance commissioned by former athletics director Bob Brigham in 1968. In 1985-86, the dog's head-known to insiders as the "wolf" Huskie-made its debut under the direction of (then) NIU marketing director Chuck Shriver. The recently "decommissioned" running Huskie dog (lower left) was designed by John Vieceli of McMillan Associates in Dundee which worked with former athletics director Gerald O'Dell on the project in 1988.

Further note to Noah Webster and copy readers: Evans made reference in that 1940 story to a Huskie dog, not H-U-S-K-Y. So the singular collective form is indeed H-U-S-K-I-E, as in Huskie victory, Huskie touchdown, Huskie basket, Huskie spike, and Huskie All-America.

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