With the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on the horizon, let’s jump back into the world of mascots as we pull back the curtain on the bad boy of the ministry...the Wake Forest Demon Deacon.
Wake Forest’s mascot dates back to the 1920s, when a member of the school’s newspaper gave the football team the nickname of ‘Demon Deacons’ after a devilish win over the Trinity Blue Devils who now go by the name of Duke Blue Devils. Previously, the school was known as the ‘Baptists,’ or ‘The Old Gold and Black.’
The Demon Deacon made it’s first appearance in 1941, when Jack R. Baldwin dressed as what he though an old-time Baptist deacon would - a top hat, tuxedo and carrying a black umbrella.
Baldwin even road into the stadium on a Carolina Ram.
The crowd at the football game loved it and thus the tradition was born. Over the years more students took on the position of Demon Deacon. Some took the mascot to new heights, literally, by climbing the goal post, hanging from the post, sitting on top of it and even walking on it.
However, some have taken the Deacon to new lows, by dropping their pants, as Jim DeVos did at a game in Bowman Gray Stadium. Luckily for onlookers, DeVos was wearing a par of Bermuda shorts under his pants.
While DeVos, made an impact pulling his pants down, Bill Shepherd, a member of the 1960 graduating class is known as one of the better Demon Deacons to put on the costume.
Shepherd was coined as a natural clown, but was quite talented - he has out-twirled the nation’s leading baton twirler, which I guess is a thing... and he answered some Auburn fan’s ‘War Eagle’ chant, with the retort of ‘Turkey Buzzard.’ Burn.
“I always felt that each of my actions were in the best interest of Wake Forest,” Shepherd said. “And to be the people watching me I was the embodiment of the entire college.”
Hap Bulger, another students that dressed up as the Demon Deacon would go as far as chasing the opposing mascot around the stadium on a unicycle...
Couldn’t they have just tipped him over?
The tradition of students dressing up in Deacon-themed clothes lasted until 1980 when the school introduced a full mascot with a Deacon mascot head.
Now a Deacon is an ordained minister, of an order ranking below that of priest. So you may be wondering what a Demon Deacon is...is it an evil ordained minister? The confusion of the nickname is said to be of a certain level where it is allows Wake Forest to throw its opponents off-track.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel like the opposition wouldn’t be so confused by the origin of a nickname enough that Wake Forest would be able to capitalize on the confusion.
‘A Demon Deacon is a deacon who is supposed to be a pure, benevolent figure but make it naughty so that we sound more intimidating,’ said senior Krista Bradley.
A naughty minister...? What could go wrong?
Where to begin...? Other than, what the hell?
Well, the Demon Deacon wears over-sized shoes, yellow pants, a black and white striped shirts with a tuxedo jacket with tails, a yellow bow tie and a black top hat with a yellow ribbon around it.
Now all of these features are normal, but the enlarged head of the the Demon Deacon is anything by normal.
Typically with mascots that are humanoid, there is a high-probability of the mascot being more on the creepy side, as it’s hard to replicate a person’s features and not over-exaggerate them in a manner that frightens people and chills them to their core.
The same goes for the Demon Deacon, whose enlarged head, emotionless face and dead eyes...really add to the creepiness. The mascot head also looks a lot like a Yukon gold potato...
Making the Deacon look less like a potato, and giving it some more facial features, would improve his look greatly and might scoot him a little further away from his current standing of nightmare fuel.
Then again, maybe not...
Both Sparty and Purdue Pete are humanoid and have more features and they are both terrifying as well...
At least Pete has eye brows?