The Hawk (Saint Joseph's University mascot)
|University||Saint Joseph's University|
|First seen||January 4, 1956|
The Hawk is the mascot of Saint Joseph's University. The Hawk represents the University's motto, "The Hawk Will Never Die" by flapping its wings non-stop (even during halftime) throughout every basketball game. The Hawk, who has been flapping his wings since 1956, is one of the most decorated mascots in college sports, having been called the best college mascot by ESPN College Basketball Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and The Sporting News.
History of The Hawk
One of the most famous mascots in college sports, the Saint Joseph's Hawk has been flapping its wings since 1956. The Hawk, which celebrated its golden anniversary in 2005-06, is best known for staying in constant motion by flapping its wings throughout every basketball game and representing the Saint Joseph's motto, "The Hawk Will Never Die."
In 2014, the Hawk Mascot was named as the "Best College Basketball Tradition" by NCAA.com.
Jim Brennan originated the idea for a hawk as mascot during the 1954-55 season. Brennan, an ex-Marine and SJU cheerleader, at first wanted to secure an actual hawk, but later switched to the costume idea. The student government raised the 120 dollars needed to buy the initial costume, which Brennan donned for three years. He made his debut as the Hawk on January 4, 1956, a 69-56 win over La Salle at the Palestra. Since then, and including this season, a total of 34 SJU students, have donned the costume. The Hawk has not missed a men's basketball game since that first season.
Two women have served as the mascot - Sara Brennan in 2000-01 and Brienne Ryan in 2009-10.
In addition to the constant flapping, the Hawk is also recognized by its "flying" in figure eights around the court during timeouts. The constant motion, coupled with the scrappy play of the University's athletic teams, helped to spawn the school's familiar slogan "The Hawk Will Never Die!" A few years ago, ESPN used a "flap-o-meter" on the national telecast of a Saint Joseph's game to estimate that the Hawk flaps its wings 3,500 times during a regulation game.
The Hawk is unique because it is one of the few mascots in the nation that travels to every game, and the student who holds the position gains a full scholarship. The student, who is selected through an interview process during the previous spring semester, also serves as a team manager for the men's basketball team and travels with the squad.
The most decorated mascot in the country, The Hawk has garnered numerous accolades in its 50-year history. The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Street & Smith's Basketball Yearbook and ESPN College Basketball magazine have selected it as the nation's top mascot. Eastern Basketball tabbed The Hawk as the Atlantic 10 Conference's best mascot, while The Hawk won a "Best of Philly" award from Philadelphia Magazine in 2003-04. More recently, The Hawk was named as a nominee for induction into the 2008 Mascot Hall of Fame.
Saint Joseph's athletic teams have been recognized with the nickname "Hawks" since 1929. At that time, the school's yearbook editor, Charlie Dunn, initiated a contest among the student body for a symbol. More than 100 submissions were narrowed to two, with "Hawks" winning out over "Grenadiers" (World War I soldiers who specialized in tossing grenades) by a slim margin in the final vote. John Gallagher '31, a catcher on the Saint Joseph's baseball team, submitted the winning suggestion. He won a sweater with a special Saint Joseph's monogram for selecting the winning name. According to the student annual, the name was appropriate because it typified "the fighting spirit of our crimson and gray athletes and it is suggestive of the aerial attack which has made our football team famous." Ironically, football was discontinued at Saint Joseph's following the 1939 season. However, for a brief stretch in the late 1980s The Hawk would be spotted flapping his wings on a football sideline hundreds of miles away in Alabama: Saint Joe's students "adopted" the Auburn Tigers football team as their college football team of choice following a campus-wide vote, and fans of the "Tiger-Hawks" would occasionally travel to Auburn games. The Hawk came along and was granted field access by then-Tigers head coach Pat Dye, and was even spotted wearing a shirt with Auburn's famed slogan "War Damn Eagle".
But it has been the connection with the storied tradition of the Saint Joseph's men's and women's basketball programs that has given The Hawk mascot its prominence on the national level, making it one of the most recognized mascots in college athletics.
The role of mascot is annually awarded to a student, who is given a full scholarship for serving as the Hawk. He or she travels with the basketball team to all of its away games.
Hawk selection has become an annual application and interview process in which a current student is selected to represent the school. Since 1992, the student awarded the role of mascot has been recipient of an endowed scholarship and is considered a full member of the basketball team.
|List of Students who have served as the Hawk|
|1955 to 1958||Jim Brennan|
|1958 to 1961||Pierce Markley|
|1961 to 1964||Al Pastino|
|1964 to 1966||Charlie Wieners|
|1966 to 1968||Chuck Elsesser|
|1968 to 1970||Bill Berner|
|1970 to 1972||John Donnelly|
|1972 to 1974||Joe Cassidy|
|1974 to 1977||Joe Boyle|
|1977 to 1978||Joe Boyle & Ron Manion|
|1978 to 1980||Kevin Quirk|
|1980 to 1981||Kevin Quirk & Randy Kiernan|
|1981 to 1982||Randy Kiernan|
|1982 to 1985||Dennis Sheehan|
|1985 to 1986||Jim Boyle, Jr.|
|1986 to 1988||Frank Simone|
|1988 to 1990||Jim Scarano|
|1990 to 1991||Tony Duldulao|
|1991 to 1993||Chuck Sack|
|1993 to 1994||Dan Gallagher|
|1994 to 1996||Brian Kearns|
|1996 to 1997||Glenn "Trip" Whitaker|
|1997 to 1998||Bobby Gallagher|
|1998 to 1999||Pat McGrory|
|1999 to 2000||Joey "G" Gawarzewski|
|2000 to 2001||Sarah Brennan|
|2001 to 2003||Steve Klarich|
|2003 to 2004||Chris Bertolino|
|2004 to 2005||Mike Tecce|
|2005 to 2006||Andrew Moral|
|2006 to 2007||Jim Miller|
|2007 to 2008||Jim Miller|
|2008 to 2009||Tim Klarich|
|2009 to 2010||Brienne Ryan|
|2010 to 2011||Tim Higgins|
|2011 to 2012||Joey Mreczko|
|2012 to 2014||Ian Klinger|
|2014 to 2015||Brian Lafferty|
|2015 to Present||Timmy Parks|
- Sports Illustrated Mascot of the 20th Century 
- Sporting News Mascot of the Year 2001 
- Street & Smith's Best Mascot
- ESPN College Basketball Magazine Best Mascot
- "Best of Philly" award from Philadelphia Magazine in 2003-04
- Eastern Basketball Atlantic 10 Conference's best mascot
- The Hawk was nominated for induction into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2008.