La Salle University Brings an "Old" Friend Back as
version of the Explorer features a mustachioed and goateed face and
a costume, including a cape, using the university's colors - dark
blue and gold.
"new" La Salle Explorer mascot made his debut on Saturday,
October 26 as he strolled into McCarthy Stadium for the homecoming
football game against Duquesne. Twice before, La Salle has used
the swashbuckling 17th century French explorer as its mascot.
This new version received an enthusiastic reception.
were two homecomings at La Salle on October 26th - one for its
alumni, and a second for an old friend, a "new" mascot
who is returning for his 3rd tour of duty at the University,
a sword-bearing 17th century swashbuckling French Explorer!
The new mascot made his first appearance that day at McCarthy
Stadium before the Explorers football team took the field against
"There was strong interest in returning to the idea of a 17th
century Explorer," said Dr. Thomas Brennan, Director of Athletics
at La Salle. "Last spring, we conducted a survey of students
and alumni to gauge their feelings, and more than 90 percent of those
surveyed were in favor of changing the mascot, and 70 percent of those
wanted to return to the French Explorer."
the redesign of the mascot project was a University task force of
representatives from alumni, student government, and staff: Joseph
Donovan (Chair), Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications;
Anna Allen, Assistant Dean of Students; John F. Carabello, DMD,
a 1962 La Salle graduate and President, Explorer Club; Peter D'Orazio,
Assistant Athletic Director; Jim Gulick, Assistant Vice President
for Alumni Relations; Ken Hager, a 1958 La Salle graduate who was
the school's first cheerleader, and Ricky Palladino, President,
Students' Government Association.
century French Explorer was the school's original mascot, unveiled
in 1958. In the early 1960s, the University switched to an "astronaut,"
as America was in the midst of exploring space with the NASA program.
The 17th century Explorer resumed the position of mascot in the
early 1970s, until 1998, when a muscular "superhero" look
like the fact that the new mascot takes us to our roots, to the
Explorer," says John F. Carabello, DMD, a 1962 La Salle graduate
and task force member. "Having worked with the task force from
sketches to even cloth samples, I'm very happy we're back to the
original mascot. It's the way people should know La Salle, as the
Explorers, and it looks like an explorer."
everybody feels as good as I will when I see him, taking the field.
La Salle is back," said Carabello, who is President of La Salle's
Explorer Club, a booster organization for the school's athletic
Palladino, President of the Student Government Association at La
Salle and member of the task force, says he was "very much
in favor of the new version. It was the only thing applicable to
the explorer title that was classy. We did brain storm other ideas
to go along with Explorer, but nothing really fit. The best thing
was to revert to the traditional model."
person happy with the return of the traditional Explorer is Lisa
Denton, a 1988 La Salle graduate who was inside the Explorer costume
for several years. "Being the school mascot was a lot of fun,
especially during the Lionel Simmons era when we had some great
seasons and played at some fantastic arenas. Keeping my identity
secret on campus was a challenge, but a job I took seriously. I
also took part in a Big 5 mascot organization that traveled around
to city schools to meet with children who had a love and knowledge
of Big 5 basketball that astounded me. They also knew all the mascots
and loved interacting with us. I was the only female mascot in the
group and always tried my best to hide my gender. Those outings
are some of my fondest memories of my time at La Salle."
hope returning to the older mascot image will give the current student
body a chance to really rally behind their new mascot," said
Denton. "It is a symbol of our school spirit and one of which
we should be proud."