Next up in our string of fresh mascot hate is Washington State (hey that rhymed). Washington State refers to itself as the Cougars and apparently has a hard time keeping tabs on its stuff.
Everyone knows Washington State University as the Cougars. However, WSU originally went by some other names… The school initially donned mascot names rooted deep in agriculture.
Farmers, the Aggies, the Hayseeds and my personal favorite, the Potato Diggers – now that would make a great minor league baseball team name and logo.
And you may be wondering, what was the mascot that personified any or all of these names? Well, it was the goodest boy, Squirt.
He was said to be the mascot until 1907, when his owner graduated from the school, but not before WSU’s carelessness led to his dognapping...
Squirt was taken by some Oregon State fans, but don’t you fret, Washington State’s football team got even, but stealing a bear.
You know, a bear for a dog… that old saying.
All’s well that ends well and WSU got Squirt back, but ended up keeping the bear, named Toodles, maybe to help heal the pain and suffering that was caused by Squirt’s dognapping? Toodles and Squirt worked together, sharing mascot duties until they both saw their handlers graduate – Squirt in 1907 and Toodles in 1908.
After using a couple more dogs as mascots (Billie and Bull), WSU started using Native American-themed names – Indians, Chiefs and Braves. During this time, from 1912-1918, the school was coached by three different coaches from the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.
Apparently, a hotbed of football coaching talent, back in the day?
In 1919, WSU finally shifted to being called the Cougars. When WSU played Cal, the school was depicted as Cougars in the newspaper and they just went with it… thankfully they weren’t referred to as something worse in the publication, they may have gone with any name.
Washington State acquired a pair of taxidermized cougars, and yes, as you can imagine, the University of Washington stole one of the cougars and kept it for 13 years and would trot it out at halftime of games against WSU. In 1932, some WSU cheerleaders tried to steal the stuffed cat back and a huge fight erupted, delaying the football game and the cougar ended up being destroyed in the process.
WSU, like most schools back in the day even had a live cougar as a mascot (which is always a good idea). Governor Roland Hartley gave the school the wild cat in 1927 and he later came to be named, Butch.
Thus began a stretch of Butches, that lasted until 1978 when the sixth Butch passed away.
With a wild animal, such as a cougar, one would think that the mascot stealing would cease, but no… Gonzaga stole Butch VI in 1965, just to trot him out at during a game against WSU, before they quickly returned him to Pullman.
They probably realized, oh shit, we stole a 200-pound killing machine…
Butch IV was stolen THREE times by Idaho students. THREE TIMES. I mean, sure one time… things happen, but THREE TIMES?!? Keep an eye on your cat!
He was found on the porch of an Idaho sorority, a farm and in the backseat of a car.
Washington State finally decided to build a new cage, so that Butch V was not stolen.
They went through FOUR wild killing machines before they thought maybe we should keep these more secure, you know, so they don’t get stolen.
The school then just misgendered her for her entire life as they thought was a male the entire time, she was alive and only realized she was a female, when she passed away.
Prior to the passing of the school’s final live mascot, the students were polled and 52 percent voted, saying that they would like to continue to have live mascots. However, in 1978 another vote was taken and 63 percent voted to do away with live mascots and the school president, decided to side with the students.
That was when the school decided to go with the more traditional route and have a costumed mascot, introducing Butch T. Cougar. However, the full name was not appointed until 1998.
While I was hoping that the ‘T’ stood for Thomas or Theodore, or Timothy… but no, it stands for ‘the.’
Butch T. Cougar, like most mascots, is an anthropomorphized cougar.
His head is oversized and he typically wears the uniform of the sport that he is cheering on and what cougar would be complete, with their signature tail, which is used for balance, at least in the animal kingdom.
His grin features two pointy canine teeth and a look that would be welcoming for children, but also could come off as that of a wild cougar.
While he does have slender physic, it’s not as baggy and disgusting as the Nittany Lion and I think it works in this case. Cougars are slender appearing big cats, after all.
And again, I cannot stress this enough, the Nittany Lion is an abomination.
The only issue I have with Butch is his eyebrows. I mean, what is going on with those? They’re just black lines drawn on, basically. Them eyebrows are definitely not on fleek.
The Goodest Boy
Dash, a golden retriever, famous on Instagram with 51.3K followers may not be a cougar, but he is an honorary cougar, having been adopted by the Alumni Association and he is also the only member of the Coug’s ‘Mug Club,’ with four legs – granting him and other members discounted brews for life at The Coug, a bar in Pullman.
Dash, famous for his love of hotdogs, is definitely worth the follow on social media, but only if you enjoy a boopable snout.