Mascots unmasked: A look at Malone’s spirit characters


J.W. Scout, Malone’s new mascot made its debut on Oct. 8 at the Homecoming game after approximately two years in the making. The new mascot was sparked by an idea from the mascot committee. The committee was formed by Student Senate two years ago to develop a design for an official Pioneer mascot.

Maxamoose was created around 2000 and was inspired by the moose head which is now in the Randall Campus Center.

“He is always considered a spirit character, like Slider is for the Cleveland Indians,” Director of Public Relations Suzie Thomas said. “He’s not our mascot because we are the Pioneers.”

Thomas said that in the 1957-58 school year, the student body voted for a mascot with the choices of being the Cougars or the Pioneers.

[pullquote]He is always considered a spirit character, like Slider is for the Cleveland Indians. He’s not our mascot because we are the Pioneers,” Suzie Thomas said.[/pullquote]

“The students overwhelmingly voted for Pioneers,” Thomas said.

The moose was adapted because it was hard to develop a look for a Pioneer that the staff and student body agreed on.

Katie Bush has been the person inside of the Maxamoose costume for the past two years. Maxamoose is now being accompanied by J.W. Scout, the new Pioneer mascot. (Photo by Lisa Heath)

After it was decided to create the spirit character, a costuming company created him. A naming contest was then posed to the student body.

“Around that same time The Gladiator was a movie that was out with Russell Crowe, and his name was Maximus, so Maxamoose was the winning name,” Thomas said.

According to Thomas, since Malone is located Canton, occasionally students would dress up with a coonskin hat and a suede jacket with fringe for the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade, sports games or school events.

As the school became a university, a pioneer design came into existence.

“Shortly after Malone became a university, it introduced this set of logos [the pioneer man figure],” Athletic Director Charlie Grimes said. “It has become the icon representing Malone.”

It took about a year to work with several companies to try and flesh out the logo into a 3-D figure that could be representative of the new logo.

After university relations worked with the athletic department producing several edits and approximately six to eight drawings, a design was chosen complete with the mascot’s outfit.

The new mascot’s name, J.W. Scout, is derived from a Facebook poll conducted by the Athletics Department. The name was chosen from the two highest ranked names.

J.W. stands for John Walter Malone. Junior psychology science major Sam Taylor suggested the name of Scout.

Taylor had been involved in the mascot committee planning and is the man in the J.W. Scout suit.

The new mascot, which cost roughly $3,000-4,000, will be a symbol of athletic spirit for many years to come.

“This suit really personifies the logo,” Grimes said.

The students underneath Maxamoose and J.W. Scout

A college football game would not be complete without a mascot, but the person in the costume is never seen at the games.

“There is a lot that is involved in being a mascot that is behind the scenes,” senior early childhood education major Katie Bush said. Never talk when in the costume, do not be seen taking it on or off and always remember that you are representing the school—be excited and have energy.”

Bush said that she had started cheerleading in high school and continued in college because of her love for school spirit.

The opportunity was presented to her by the former cheerleading coach Heather Clark when she wanted to be an RA but wouldn’t have been able be on the quad and be an RA because of the time commitments of both activities.

She became Maxamoose her sophomore year.

“I wanted to still be involved. I didn’t want to give up cheerleading,” Bush said.

Bush said that it takes lots of endurance to be in the Maxamoose costume and to mingle with the crowd quietly.

“When you are in that … you can’t talk your way through something,” she said. “I have learned to show my character quietly.”

The spirit character is cute and cuddly, but he is big. Maxamoose wears a size 8XXL T-shirt, Bush said.

When Bush changed the Maxamoose outfit for homecoming, she said that a size 52 wide black dress pants was not big enough for the big cuddly moose. A pin had to be used to fix the button that popped. She had to use suspenders.

As for the new mascot, Taylor has brought the character to life. Taylor said that he was the mascot in high school and was disappointed that there was no official mascot when he came to college.

He talked with the athletic director and the mascot committee started the process of J.W. Scout.

Taylor was approached by Grimes to become the new mascot because of his involvement in helping with planning and the committee. Taylor said that he would like to the share the responsibilities with someone else as well.

“Most universities that have mascots switch off with people and have different responsibilities for the mascot,” Taylor said.

J.W. Scout will attend the home games and possibly come to the Walsh games.

“We are actually really hoping that we could do a mini battle between us and the Cavalier at Walsh,” Taylor said, but he added that the Cavalier was a little hesitant.

Traditionally being the mascot is a work study job, but Taylor said he is “totally volunteering for this.”

Maxamoose and J.W Scout will attend events together to appeal to different audiences at Malone.

Lisa Heath is a senior staff writer for Aviso AVW.

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