“Huskies” find their home at NIU

By Sherelle Green

It is hard to imagine an NIU football game without Victor E. Huskie. As NIU’s official mascot, it is Victor’s job to energize the crowd and spur nothing else but victory.

It may surprise some people to learn NIU’s mascot was not always a husky.

According to this year’s Volleyball Media Guide, previous names of NIU athletics have been “Profs,” “Cardinals,” “Evansmen,” “Northerners” and “Teachers.”

In 1940, George G. Evans, Harold Taxman, Walter Lorimer and Harry Telman of the varsity club were picked to choose a new name for the athletic teams. They wanted to choose a name that would rightfully represent NIU.

The name “Huskies” was presented in a 1940 edition of Northern Illinois, forerunner of the Northern Star. The board felt it had meaning and symbolized NIU’s varsity teams.

On Football Media Day, Aug. 8, 2001, NIU revealed the current Huskie logo, created by the firm of Rickabaugh Graphics in Gahanna, OH.

Victor E. attends every football game and is often accompanied by live husky dogs.

Sophomore art major and cheerleader Theresa Kiel was Victor E. for this year’s first home game against Tennessee Tech.

Head cheerleading coach Shaun Jones chooses who will wear the mascot costume.

It is very difficult to move in the costume and remain energetic throughout the whole game, Kiel said. However, students are not paid to dress up.

Being NIU’s mascot does have some perks, though.

“The mascot gets free accommodations for away games, which is pretty nice,” Kiel said.

Even though Kiel prefers being a cheerleader over being the mascot, she does recognize the importance of Victor E.

“The mascot makes people energetic about the game,” Kiel said. “It just adds to everything else the athletic department puts on for our games.”

Live husky dogs also help the mascot energize the crowd.

Maureen Scott, a former NIU athletics department employee, owns all but one of the dogs, said Stacy Allie, assistant athletic director for marketing.

The other, Saki, belongs to senior kinesiology major Ashley Ahern and senior physical education major Jake Ebenhoch.

The couple bought Saki two months ago. Ahern and Ebenhoch trained Saki and take her on the field during the week so she can adapt to being at games.