Mascot Monday: Sebastian the Ibis

Another week of mascots and we cracked the top ten of Phil Steele’s Preseason Top  40 with the #9 Miami of Florida Hurricanes and their mascot Sebastian the Ibis.  Just what is an Ibis?  How the heck does it go with Hurricane?  We’ll answer those questions as well as blow through Sebastian’s somewhat fiery past.  Some say the Hurricanes are on the cusp of being back this year.  Mr. Steele believes that they are Top Ten worthy.  Now let’s find out if Sebastian is just as worthy.

It seems that both the team name and the mascot came from the same event.  In 1926 the University of Miami fielded their very first football team.  Now there is some controversy attached to the exact origin, but the common belief is that the hurricane that hit the school (and postponed their very first game by a month) should be used to represent the team.  The school that year featured an Ibis on the front.  The Ibis is a bird known to be the last bird to stick around before a hurricane hits.  So it would make natural sense the Ibis would hop onto the field first before the football players came out.

But Miami’s current mascot was not the first.  The first one, according to the school library in 1950, was a boxer that was scheduled to fly from then current school president Bowman F. Ashe’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.  This burly dog was to be named Hurricane I.  Somewhere along the line, plans failed and we’re glad they did.  In 1957 a dormitory sponsored an Ibis competition for homecoming and shortly after the big bird made its debut.  The name Sebastian comes from the dorm that birthed it, San Sebastian Hall.

So how does this guy stack up?  The costume dates back to the 1980’s so there is some wear and tear on it.  That said, the big-billed feet start of the bottom while the skinny legs yield to furry legs.  A football jersey covers the top while a ginormous head rests atop.  Sebastian walks around lookin’ real angry and we would be more afraid if it weren’t for the lame-o sailor hat that caps off this get up.  Yeah, we think it could be updated but to Sebastian’s defense, it does hold up pretty well for being so old.  We thought they had an update of the costume from the middle to late 1990’s.

It’s a good thing that every once in a while Sebastian likes to swap costumes.  One such story actually made some pretty heavy news.  The rival to the Miami Hurricanes are the Florida State Seminoles.  As you probably know by now, the Seminoles mascots are Chief Osceola and Renegade.  Before every game, Chief Osceola pokes the middle of the field with a flaming spear.  Well, in 1989, then Sebastian John Routh showed up to the game with fireman outfit and a fire extinguisher.  The goal was to fake trying to put out the spear, but it ended up in a Sebastian and 4 police officer tussle.  Sebastian didn’t get arrested but he did help start the rivalry we know of today.

So while the spunky attitude of Sebastian can draw the ire of the police, he doesn’t really draw much praise from us.  He looks alright and he does a decent enough job pumping up the stadium.  We just feel like he lost some of the spunk from way back when.  The fix in our eyes point to a costume upgrade. That should help the move Sebastian’s hurricane of spirit from the calm eye to the blowing, destructive edge.