It was quickly apparent during the Saturday, Sept. 5, season opening football game for Upper Iowa University that Pete the Peacock did not take the offseason lightly. Sporting a more muscular physique, furrowed brow and chiseled beak, the newly rejuvenated UIU mascot entered Harms-Eischeid Stadium in Fayette to a boisterous cheer from the fans.
“Simply put, Pete looks like a college mascot now. I believe Pete understood that with all of the positive growth the University has experienced on campus in recent years, it was time for him to also step it up,” said UIU co-ed varsity cheer coach Tony Morris, who explained that prior to Saturday’s introduction, Pete the Peacock had not experienced a change in design since November 2003.
“Even the other coaches who were able to catch a sneak peek [of the mascot] before the game were excited to see Pete take the field,” he added. “They look forward to him attending their respective events and making a positive influence in the game-time experience for the Peacock fans and athletes.”
Morris noted that due to mascot etiquette, the “old” Pete has been retired and will never be viewed publicly alongside the “new” Pete. At the same time, the identity of Pete’s Crew will remain anonymous.
“The students behind a costumed mascot are not to talk to the public and like a super hero their identities remain a secret,” explained Morris, who speaks from experience. Serving as Captain Spirit during his senior year at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., the current UIU cheer coach was later honored to have his cape retired by his alma mater.
“A good mascot should be able to more fully engage the crowd at an athletic event and if done correctly, the mascot will enhance the entire game day experience,” Morris added.
The development of Pete’s Crew will continue through 2015-2016. Working on a rotational basis, the mascot team will attend athletic, campus, and community events. Social media will also be fully utilized for Pete to become even more well-known not only throughout the Upper Iowa University and Fayette-area communities, but across the state and beyond.
“Similar to the cheerleading team, Pete serves as an ambassador and extension of the spirit of Upper Iowa University,” Morris stressed. “Just like ‘Feathers Up’ has become a worldwide symbol of Peacock pride, I see Pete having that same effect.”
Anyone wishing to request a guest appearance by Pete at an event or social function, should email Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.