April 26, 2005
New Haven, CT - Yale's search for a new mascot came to a conclusion Tuesday afternoon with the selection of "Mugsy" as Handsome Dan XVI. The English Bulldog from Hamden was picked from a field of 10 as part of Spring Fling festivities on Yale's Old Campus.
"I think his large size (69 pounds), and the fact that he's fearless and enjoys crowds makes him a great Handsome Dan," owner Bob Sansone said. "Personality-wise, you won't find a more lovable dog."
The festivities began shortly after 3 p.m. with emcees Satya Bhabha '06 and Erica Shumate '06 explaining the history of Yale's mascot - the first Handsome Dan patrolled the Yale sidelines starting in 1889. Yale is known as the first university in the United States to adopt a mascot. Handsome Dan, who has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is as famous as any mascot in the country.
Mugsy made it through several rounds of competition, including a strut, interaction with the Yale Precision Marching Band and the chance to come face-to-face with one of Yale's biggest rivals - a (stuffed) Princeton tiger. The way he handled himself in front of the crowd of several hundred, along with his classic Bulldog appearance, gave him the edge in the eyes of the judges, which included Chris Getman '64 (Yale's mascot caretaker for the previous 21 years), Steve Conn (Yale Assistant AD), Christie Yang '06 (Yale cheerleader), Jeff Mroz '05 (Yale football captain) and Costa Lapaseotes '08 (Yale band).
Getman announced the winner and Mugsy then affixed his paw print to a contract "to serve as the Yale University Athletics mascot, to be patient with young and old alike and to bring good fortune to the playing fields of Yale."
The event attracted attention from several major media outlets, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. Sansone and Mugsy stuck around for several interviews and are scheduled to be on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" Wednesday morning.
Mugsy then celebrated with a round of fetch with a football he had with him, indicating that he is more than ready for his first major event: Yale football's home opener against Cornell Sept. 24.
Mugsy succeeds Louis, Handsome Dan XV, who passed away this past winter.