Welcome to The Northern Almanac, a WNIJ living history project coinciding with NIU's 125th anniversary.
While we celebrate NIU’s 125th anniversary, we also must note that it is the 80th anniversary of NIU’s athletic mascot, the Huskie. But the mascot wasn’t always the Huskie.
First, NIU teams were known as the Profs–an obvious reference to its mission as a teachers’ college. During the 1920s, they were referred to as the Cardinals. In the 1930s, admiration for the legendary athletics pioneer George “Chick” Evans translated into the nickname “Evansmen.”
In 1940, a committee made up of Evans, Harold Taxman, Walter Lorimer and Harry Telman worked to come up with a name that had “a trifle more dash.” They came up with the Huskie. The American Kennel Club describes the Siberian Husky as “loyal, outgoing, mischievous, friendly, fastidious and dignified…. Quick and light on its feet, and free and graceful in action.”
In 1967, Sports Information Director Bud Nangle made it his mission to ensure that NIU’s use of the word “Huskie” would be spelled, now and forever, with “i-e” and not “y.” And WHY is it spelled that way? Part tradition, and part, just because.
Over the years, the Huskie mascot has had several incarnations: from a series of real dogs to a live person inside a Victor E. Huskie costume. The logo also has gone through several variations: the fighting Huskie in a boxer’s stance reigned from the sixties into the eighties. Followed by the charging huskie. And since 2001, the bold side-view huskie.