St. John's To Unveil New Mascot At Friday's Soccer Doubleheader

Sept. 16, 2009

St. John's fans, want to be among the first to find out which of the six nominations won the fan vote and will be unveiled as the new Red Storm mascot?

Then follow us on Twitter at @STJ_Basketball or @StJohnsRedStorm!

The mascot will be announced onto the field at Belson Stadium at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Friday, appearing live for the first time anywhere before the St. John's Soccer (@STJ_MSoccer and @STJ_WSoccer) faithful! BUT, the winner will be revealed via TwitPic several moments earlier!

For a complete list of social networking opportunities with St. John's Athletics, click here!

QUEENS, N.Y. - After a near 10-year hiatus, St. John's University will have a mascot once again, as Red Storm Athletics unshrouds the mystery early in the 2009-10 fall sports season. The student and fan-selected character will appear to the public for the first time on Friday, Sept. 18, during the highly-anticipated men's and women's soccer BIG EAST doubleheader that kicks off at 5 p.m.

During a 12-day span between April 23 and May 4, more than 11,000 votes were cast as St. John's students and fans logged onto to decide among the six Red Storm mascot finalists. The fans' winning selection will be unveiled on Friday night between the men's and women's soccer games.

The next step in the process will be to name the mascot, which will be voted upon by current St. John's students. From Monday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 25, students will be able to vote via e-mail through St. John's Central. The five name nominations are "Bolt," "Johnny," "Spirit," "Stormy" and "Surge," though students will also have the opportunity to write in a vote.

In the Fall of 2008, a panel of student-athletes, University administrators and students representing several different campus organizations gathered to brainstorm ideas and nominate potential mascots. The list of choices was narrowed down to six, which were revealed on on April 23. Now that the entire process has come to its conclusion, the new mascot will debut this weekend and will be visible at many St. John's athletic events, as well as on campus and in the greater New York City community.

The St. John's mascot concept sketches, which remain on the site, were created by Olympus Inc., renowned nationally as the mascot costume industry's premier designer. Olympus has manufactured a wide variety of corporate, entertainment and university mascot costumes. Highly visible mascot costumes, including Ronald McDonald, Tony the Tiger, The University of Wisconsin Badger and The University of Florida Gator have been designed and manufactured using the Olympus design team's creative expertise.

In the early years of intercollegiate competition, St. John's teams were known as the "Johnnies." It wasn't until the 1920's that "Redmen" was first used and that came about when a reporter used the term after the football team took the field clad in totally red uniforms. According to several written sources and many an old tale, a group of St. John's students led by Walter Bruce (Class of 1939) and Michael McNichols (Class of 1931) went out and found that mascot standing in front of a cigar store. "Chief Blackjack" made his first public appearance in his new position at the St. John's-Catholic University football game at Ebbets Field. When the underdog Redmen went on to a 22-0 victory, there was no turning back. Bruce later admitted that he and others returned and paid for the pilfered mascot.

The decision was made to change the "Redmen" nickname in 1994. At the time, colleges nationwide were becoming more sensitive to mounting Native American concerns in reference to collegiate and professional team nicknames that reference Native American culture. Although the nickname "Redmen" was instituted because the athletes at St. John's wore red, and did not have an original basis in Native American culture, it did evolve into a nickname that referenced Native American symbology. St. John's wanted to make a change that would stay true to its tradition, but also be distinctive and unique. Thus, the new nickname Red Storm was born.

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