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Tommy Titan, about age 40, has rooted his way into hearts of fans

By TIM KRAFCHAK/ VN SPECIAL WRITER
On February 11, 2015

By Tim Krafchak

VN SPECIAL WRITER

 

From Griz the Grizzly of rival university Oakland University to Pistol Pete of Oklahoma State, college mascots exist all throughout the college sports world.  

Consisting of named incarnations of live, costumed or inflatable mascots, they give fans something to look forward to at every college sporting event.

At the University of Detroit Mercy, Tommy the Titan reigns.

The Titan was chosen in 1919 to serve as the mascot for what was then the University of Detroit.

For many years, the mascot was represented by various St. Bernard puppies named Titan.

During the Dick Vitale era of the mid-1970s the Titan was introduced as a costumed mascot, portrayed by a student named Tommy.

With Tommy performing well as the mascot, fans seemed to enjoy the experience of Tommy at sporting events.

Eventually, the name stuck and to this day, no matter the outfit, the name remains Tommy Titan.

So, what’s it like to wear the outfit?

The Varsity News set out to interview the mascot, but it was not to be.

UDM has chosen to keep private the names of the students who portray Tommy Titan.

However, Tevin Brown, Detroit Titans marketing assistant, has some idea. He served as “Big Stuff,” the mascot of Winthrop University, and knows what it’s like to be under the mask.

“It was weird at first,” said Brown. “You have to over-exaggerate when you’re in character, but eventually you get used to it.”

When discussing how fans react to seeing the mascot during sporting events, Brown said, “At first fans get so excited and cheer when you come around, but eventually the get used to it. Then you really only have the occasional fan that wants to take a picture with you.”

Zane McCormick, 23, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Michigan, attended a Detroit Titans basketball game earlier this season when the Titans faced off against nationally ranked Wichita State.

When asked about how “Tommy Titan” adds to the fan experience McCormick said,

“It was an awesome (fan) experience,” he said. “I noticed Tommy really got the student section going. Once he arrived it was almost like the fans gained some Titan pride and the place became electric.

“I’m kind of jealous that UDM has a mascot,” said McCormick. “Attending a school like Michigan, which doesn’t have a mascot, and seeing Tommy just makes me wish that our school would have one.”

Joseph Samayoa, 20, a junior nursing student at UDM, also likes Tommy.

“Tommy is awesome,” he said. “I enjoy going to sporting events and seeing Tommy.”

Samayoa noted that many colleges don’t have mascots.

“It makes our school somewhat unique,” he said. “I think UDM students need to realize that we are pretty lucky to have a mascot, especially one as cool as Tommy.”

He encourages anyone who has never seen Tommy in action to check out a basketball game at Calihan Hall.

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