A temporary ban on signs at athletic events (see related article) rankled many this past fall, but the unfortunate debut of a new mascot 25 years ago nearly brought Scott Stadium to the boiling point.
From Sports Illustrated, November 21, 1983
Hooting Down the ’Hoo
The University of Virginia has had a variety of sports mascots over the years. In the 1930s the mascot was a beloved mongrel dog named Beta, who is buried in hallowed ground in the university cemetery alongside a later mascot mutt, Seal, who achieved immortality by irrigating a Penn cheerleader’s megaphone during a big upset of the Quakers in 1949. In recent years a student dressed as a Cavalier, the school’s official nickname, has served as the mascot.
But Virginia students and Old Grads have drawn the line with the ’Hoo, a furry, orange-costumed character that replaced the Cavalier as mascot at the start of this football season. The brainchild of Sports Promotion Director Todd Turner, who described it as “an entertainment device,” the ’Hoo … debuted at Virginia’s home opener against Duke on Sept. 3 and promptly 1) was showered with ice cubes from detractors in the stands and 2) suffered the forced removal of its tongue by pie-eyed fraternity boys. Because of fear of further violence, the ’Hoo (with a student inside) appeared only briefly on the sidelines during the Navy game on Sept. 10. As objections to the ’Hoo mounted, Athletic Director Dick Schultz invited the school’s student council to come up with an alternative. The council settled on a redesigned Cavalier. He’s scheduled to swing into action during the basketball season, and next football season he’ll have a dog as a sidekick.
And what of the ’Hoo? The ill-fated creature … is now only an unhappy memory. An editorial in the Cavalier Daily described it as “a video game reject who tried out for Ms. Pac-Man and didn’t make the cut.” A letter to the paper was rougher still. It called the ’Hoo “a bastard child born out of the incestuous relationship between the athletic department and the cash register.”