Jack the Bulldog

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Jack the Bulldog
Jack the bulldog face.jpg
Jack (John S. Carroll) visiting students
University Georgetown University
Conference Big East
Description English bulldog
Origin of name Lil-Nan's Royal Jacket
First seen 1962

Jack the Bulldog is the official mascot of the Georgetown University Hoyas athletics teams. Jack has been the name of at least five live Bulldogs since 1962, when the name first came into use,[1] though Georgetown counts seven official bulldog mascots including the three living ones. The current incarnation of Jack is an English Bulldog born in 2013 whose full name is John B. Carroll.[2]

A puppy born in 2012 named Jack Junior, or J.J., began assisting Jack in April 2012,[3] allowing the older Jack to retire after the 2012–13 school year and transfer his duties to Jack Junior.[4] However, university administrators determined in July 2013 that J.J. would not be the school's mascot.[5] By the end of August 2013, a new puppy had been identified from the same breeders, and John B. Carroll was introduced to campus in October 2013.[2]

Jack was not always the name of the Georgetown Hoyas' mascot, nor was the mascot always a bulldog, as other types of dogs, particularly bull terriers, were associated with the sports teams before 1962. In 2009, the American Kennel Club ranked Jack as the 8th most popular dog in American culture.[6] Today, Georgetown is among thirty-nine American universities to use a bulldog as their mascot,[7] with Georgia, Butler, Mississippi State, Yale and James Madison[8] being the only others with a live bulldog.[9] Jack is also portrayed by a costumed character Bulldog mascot, a tradition dating to 1977.[1]

Early dogs[edit]

Dogs have been associated with the school's sports teams on an unofficial basis since the late nineteenth century. Early dog mascots may have included a mutt called Hoya around 1900, a Borzoi named Richmond Jack in 1906, a bulldog named Hoya in 1907, and a Boston Bull Terrier in 1911.[10][11] At this time, most mascots were primarily associated with the school's football team, and were cared for by students or individual sports teams, rather than the administration.

"Hoya" began as mascot in 1926

Sergeant Stubby, a part bull terrier and a decorated World War I war dog, came to campus in 1921 with J. Robert Conroy who was attending Georgetown Law at the time. The school football team used Stubby as a popular halftime show where he would push a football across the field, which established him as a campus celebrity.[12] After Stubby died in 1926, the team then chose a female bull terrier named Jazz Bo, who had been brought to campus by Georgetown College student Paul Van Laanen. Jazz Bo was retitled "Hoya" by the students, after the traditional "Hoya Saxa" school cheer. The athletic teams are possibly named, in turn, for this dog.[1] When "Hoya" gave birth to a daughter, students named the puppy "Saxa".[13]

Other bull terriers like Saxa filled in as mascot until World War II, when athletics at the school paused during the war. After the war, a series of Great Danes, named Bo, Butch, and Hobo, served as mascot.[14] William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, was one of the students to care for Butch. During this time period mascot abductions by rival schools became a common threat to the animal's safety. A bull terrier costume was also briefly used by the school, but in 1951, the school suspended the football program as part of a larger backlash against university sports.[15] This left the school without a mascot.[1]

Royal Jacket[edit]

The costumed personification of Jack the Bulldog at a basketball game.

In 1962, with the resumption of a football team, students Stan Samorajczyk and John Feldmann, editors of The Hoya campus newspaper, founded a committee to raise money for the purchase of a new mascot dog in time for the first new games in 1964.[16] This committee chose a purebred English Bulldog as the dog which would represent Georgetown students because of their "tenacity."[1] Samorajczyk also followed the sports team jerseys, which may have previously had an image of a bulldog on them.[17] Around this time the school also adopted as the official logo of the athletics program a new drawing in blue and gray school colors of the bulldog. This logo dog wears a cap typical of the beanie which other freshman at the time had to wear.[18]

For $150 the committee bought a two-year-old blue-ribbon-champion show dog named "Lil-Nan's Royal Jacket," named because the colors of his coat looked like a jacket.[17] This dog was to be renamed "Hoya" like his 1926 predecessor, but refused to respond to any name other than his call name "Jack."[19] Jack lived outside New South Hall in a heated doghouse.[17] In 1967, Royal Jacket retired and was replaced by a second bulldog who continued under the simple name "Jack."[18] In 1977, as the basketball program gained popularity, the costumed mascot took over duties as Jack.[20] The costume, first worn by student Pat Sheehan,[21] has been updated numerous times, most recently in 2013.[22] Other live bulldogs owned by students at times joined the costumed Jack, including one named Rocky from 1982 to 1985 and one named Daisy in 1997.[1][23]

John P. Carroll[edit]

In 1998, Michael Boyle, Austin Martin, and Kathleen Long, co-founders of the Hoya Blue fan club began a campaign to revive the tradition of an official live mascot with the assistance of English professor Father Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.[16] The "Bring Back Jack" Campaign initially sought to find a suitable dog among the students and faculty, as the university did not want to use school funds for the purchase.[24] Ultimately, Hoya Blue raised $1,500 to purchase a new puppy named Jack (officially, John P. Carroll) and placed him in the care of Father Pilarz on February 16, 1999.[23] However after four years, Jack left Georgetown with Pilarz, who was named president of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania in 2003, and then president of Marquette University in 2011.[25] John P. Carroll died on September 16, 2011 at the home of Pilarz's parents in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, at the age of 12.[26]

Donations from Hoya Blue, the Hoya Hoop Club, the Office of the President, and alumni allowed for the purchase of the current third incarnation of Jack (born 2003).[16]

John S. Carroll[edit]

Jack spends much of his days resting in Wolfington Hall Jesuit Residence.

Jack was born May 3, 2003 at Brookhollow Kennel in Freehold Township, New Jersey as a litter of one.[27] He is the son of champion bulldog Copper Kid and a relation of Rocky the 1983 mascot.[17] He was brought to campus on July 19, 2003 and placed in the care of Father Christopher Steck, S.J., a theology professor. His official name, as registered with the American Kennel Club is Brookhollow's John S. Carroll, which allows for the nickname Jack.[28] This refers to Georgetown founder John Carroll, while "S." stands for Steck.[29] Similarly the previous mascot was officially John P. Carroll, for Pilarz.[30] He is also infrequently referred to as Jack IV, as the school is unsure of the exact number of dogs used as Jack in the 1970s.

Jack lives with Father Christopher Steck in New South Hall, but spends time in Wolfington Hall Jesuit Residence.[31] In 2003, Father Steck started the "Jack Crew", a twenty-student organization of Jack's walkers and caretakers.[17] Crew members must be able to show their school spirit and their ability to control Jack, including being aware of his affinity for orange traffic cones.[31] Jack has both an email address, a Facebook profile, a student ID card, and a local phone number, and the campus directory lists him as part of the theology faculty, like Father Steck.[32]

Jack attended home basketball games at the Verizon Center, where he entertained fans by attacking a cardboard box decorated with opponents' logos.[33] This tradition developed after Steck discovered Jack's propensity for attacking boxes of brownie mix, and he originally decorated boxes for the games himself.[4] Jack wears a leather collar studded with Georgetown pins, and occasionally wears a team jersey sporting the number one, which Steck purchased at the school bookstore.[34][35] On campus, Jack attends some student meetings and can be booked for social functions.[36] He weighs 55 pounds (25 kg) and his color is described as "red fawn."[28] Jack's personality is described as very social, but imperious and stubborn with "a sense of entitlement."[19][34]

On March 11, 2012, Jack tore his ACL,[37] and had to have surgery to repair it on April 23, 2012.[38][39] In March 2013, school announced that Jack would "retire" from gameday duties after the end of the 2012–13 basketball season, and officially take a smaller role.[4]

Jack Junior[edit]

On March 30, 2012, Georgetown announced the donation of a new bulldog puppy from San Diego breeders Janice and Marcus Hochstetler, whose children Nathan and Rachel attend the school.[40] The school named the puppy Jack Junior, or "J.J.", and his father was a breed champion, while his mother, named Treasure, and grandmother still live with the Hochstetler family.[41] The puppy, who has been described as "laid back," was introduced to the community at a ceremony on April 13, 2012.[3][42]

Students discovered during Homecoming 2012 that J.J. has an affinity for balloons, and during Midnight Madness he attacked blue and orange balloons, colors of Georgetown's arch-rival, Syracuse University.[6] He had his debut at the Verizon Center on January 26, 2013 during a men's basketball victory over the Louisville Cardinals.[43] On February 8, 2013, Jack and J.J. met with Butler University's mascots, Blue II and Blue III, who were in town on a goodwill tour to Atlantic 10 Conference members.[44]

However, during the summer 2013, trainers at the school determined that, given the "exciting and hectic" life required of the school's mascot, it would be best for J.J. to return to a home environment, announcing their decision on July 31, 2013.[45] An incident involving a small child during the fall 2012 semester, and a subsequent settlement with the child's family, may have contributed to the school's decision,[46] though Georgetown spokesperson Rachel Pugh said it wasn't the only factor.[47] Caretaker Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J. was surprised by the schools decision, and published a letter expressing his disappointment.[48] In an editorial in The Hoya, Steck also lamented the school's choice not to involve the Bulldog Advisory Committee, which began meeting earlier in the summer, in its decision.[49][50] After a search by Steck, J.J. was adopted by a family close to the Georgetown campus on August 18, 2013.[51]

John B. Carroll[edit]

On August 30, 2013, Pugh announced the arrival of a new puppy, also from the Hochstetler family and an offspring of Treasure, J.J.'s mother, though they come from different litters. Named John B. Carroll, the dog's middle name stands for "Bulldog", unlike his predecessors, where the middle name referred to the caretaker's name.[29] He was born on June 29, 2013 and was introduced on campus in late October 2013 with appearances at a men's soccer game against DePaul on October 23, and around Copley Lawn and Leo J. O'Donovan Hall.[2] Jack weighs 50 pounds (23 kg) and his color is described as "fawn."[28]

In early October 2013, the school announced that Steck would not be the new mascot's caretaker, but that another, not necessarily a Jesuit, would be selected from the Georgetown community.[52] On November 5, 2013, the school choose 2013 graduate McKenzie Stough as the bulldog's caretaker. Besides being an alumna, McKenzie works as a Communications Specialist in the university's Office of Communications.[53] Responding to criticism, the school involved the fourteen-member Bulldog Advisory Committee in the replacement process and selection of the caretaker.[54] The Jack Crew will also be downsized from twenty students to "four or five" with the selection of this new caretaker.[55]

References[edit]

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