Herd fans get to pick new Marco
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University's mascot, Marco, is undergoing another makeover. But this time, fans have a say.
The university is sponsoring an online poll with three Marco costumes for fans to choose from. Matt Turner, the university's chief of staff, said it was time to purchase a new costume because of the wear and tear the costume has taken during the past five years. And, he knows not everyone liked the new Marco that debuted in 2008.
"There's no doubt that Marco means a lot to our fans and alumni, so we want their help to choose his appearance," Turner said. "He is as iconic as Old Main, and his public appearances extend well beyond the field, so we think it's important to hear from them."
Marco first appeared in the 1954 Marshall College yearbook after being created by two Marshall students who graduated that year. Marco was chosen for Marshall's mascot emblem because when used as capital letters, Marco was an abbreviation for Marshall College. In 1961, the Marco name was officially retained.
Marco has seen his share of changes over the years. During the later World War II years, he appeared in military uniform, sometimes in a dress coat, sometimes with a sailor's cap and snorting, and in other representations.
The contest, which runs through midnight Saturday, Aug. 10, offers voters a choice of three costumes.
The first choice is to keep the current Marco. The second option is described as a hybrid of the current Marco and the previous costume. It incorporates the hooved feet and fur-covered legs of the previous costume.
The third option is a more complete makeover, with a design that more closely resembles the previous Marco, which includes a friendlier face and bison goatee.
"(A public vote) is a great concept, a wonderful way to involve alumni and friends of Marshall who care deeply about how the mascot embodies and represents the face of the university," said Matt Hayes, Marshall's executive director of alumni relations. "I'm sure the Herd nation will not be shy and will make their voices heard."
Voting has begun on Marshall's Facebook site, www.facebook.com/marshallu, and participants can vote only once. The Marco costume that receives the most votes will be announced on Facebook on Monday, Aug. 12.
Once the design is finalized, Turner said he expects the new costume to be completed in time for Marshall's homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 5.
As a reward for helping select one of the three concepts, one voter will win tickets and a tailgate package for four to the first Thundering Herd football game of the season, scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at home against Miami (Ohio). They also will receive Marshall hooded sweatshirts.
Artist's renderings of the three choices along with photos of both the old Marco and the current Marco can be found at http://muphotos.marshall.edu/NewsPhotos-4/Marcos-New-Look-2013.
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