Why Did Syracuse University Chose The Orange Ball For A Mascot?
In the early 80s', I would go to the Carrier Dome for a Syracuse Orangemen basketball game. I would watch the "Dome Ranger" run up and down the sideline behind the player's benches. Suddenly the masked man was replaced by an official mascot that looked like a basketball. We know him as "Otto" today but where did it come from?
Over the years, Syracuse had a few mascots including the Saltine Warrior and the Gladiator but in 1980, the mascot we now know as "Otto" was born. Some of the names of this "Orange with appeal" were Clyde and Woody.
Syracuse University Otto the Orange
There were tweaks in the design along the way and in 1990, Otto beat out the name Opie and a new tradition had begun at the Cuse. In 1995, Otto almost went the way of Saltine Warrior and Gladiator.
Syracuse University thought about bringing in a more masculine mascot, a wolf. Everyone howled and Otto stayed on as the mascot All was pretty quiet for this neutral-looking mascot with the masculine name for 9 years until...
Syracuse University Changes its Nickname To Orange
In 2004, two things happened: Syracuse decided to change the Orangemen/Orangewomen nickname to the Orange and Nike wanted to redraw the "odd-looking" Otto character.
The name change to the Orange went off without a hitch but Syracuse fans said "Don't squeeze the orange and keep your hands off our fruit." Okay, maybe that's what I said but I know that I wasn't alone.
A committee was put together and looked to help with the redesign of our mighty Orange man "Otto." After hearing from so many students and alum, they all decided (rightly so) that Otto would remain the same as he ever was.
Think about it, how many universities have the Orange nickname? As far as I know, only one. Go anywhere in the country and say "The Orange" and they know that you are talking about Otto and Syracuse University.
It's been nearly 20 years since any discussion of changing its look. That's exactly what Otto is, an "it" and I think we should keep IT that way. What do you think?
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