Aug. 2, 2010
This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
Have you ever considered giving the Saluki mascots a voice? For example, at Universal Studios the kids can meet and talk with Spiderman. The Saluki mascot could make some announcements and be involved with ads that could be played on the new video scoreboards. The kids would probably really love them.
This topic hasn't been discussed, and I am not familiar with any collegiate mascots that have a voice. It is an interesting concept, though, and I have asked our Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions Mark Gazdik to see if anyone has put a voice to their school mascot. I can see how there would be new marketing possibilities with a talking Brown and Gray Dog, but the tradition factor of a non-speaking mascot would have to be considered as well.
Will there be any auctions this year for the sideline experience for football or basketball?
Ironically, we are getting ready to auction off the sideline experience for the first game, beginning Tuesday. The package will include four tickets to the game, a VIP Tour of Saluki Stadium, pre-game sideline passes and a number of other added bonuses. Look for it next week on the front page of the official website. We'll have similar auctions for future games, as well.
Since the dog-head logo isn't included on the football field, does this raise hope that we will design a new and improved logo of our famed mascot?
We are not ready to begin working on a new logo, but since that possibility exists in the future, we decided to go with the SIU and SALUKI word marks, which will always be part of our family of marks. I know our new Chancellor, Dr. Rita Cheng, is reviewing all of the campus word marks and logos from a University branding standpoint.
In response to a June question about the turf from McAndrew, you replied "When and if the track is relocated." I was under the impression that McAndrew will be torn down to make way for new buildings, and a new track was to be built over near the stadium and arena. Is this in jeopardy?
I am very confident that the track will be relocated, but I'd prefer to be 100 percent certain before speaking in public about the location and design of the new track. The University has a great interest in the parcel of land that the current track sits on, but I will let the appropriate University officials make that announcement at the appointed time.
Will any upgrades be done to the Arena sign next to US 51?
Yes, as part of our overall scoreboard bid, a new marquee board will be installed. The base will remain the same, but a much larger board with video capability will be installed at some point during the season. I think you will be impressed. In a perfect world, it would be completed in time for the first football game, but there are higher-priority items that we want to ensure are completed before the inaugural game.
We have a great art department, so why not see if someone would be willing to do a bronze Saluki with a modern style or artistic flair, rather than just a replica of the dog? Bronze would be awesome. Folks could "polish" the nose like they do the Lincoln bronze bust at Lincoln's tomb.
Not to give away all of our surprises, but we will have a bronze Saluki Dog in the main area between the football stadium, Boydston Center and Arena. If you are familiar with the original drawings, it will be placed where the architects were originally showing an obelisk. This will be the focal point for televised game intros as well as the place where graduates will want their photo taken. While all the details are not yet worked out, we are using an artist as well as our Saluki liaison and dog owner, Tamarah Cook, to ensure a realistic look.