Providence’s mascot is #1…to scare basketball fans

The Providence mascot performs during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament between Southern California and Providence, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Raleigh, North Carolina (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Providence mascot performs during the first half of a first-round men’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament between Southern California and Providence, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Raleigh, North Carolina (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

PA

The Providence College men’s basketball team is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018, which marked the end of five straight appearances for the Brothers.

A funny thing happens whenever Providence College, which faces Kansas in a Sweet 16 game on Friday night, is in the big dance. Fans always take notice of the Brotherhood’s mascot, Friar Dom.

Words used to describe Friar Dom, who was recently ranked college basketball’s worst mascot, include “nightmarish fuel,” “creepy,” and “creepy.” Does another mascot elicit this kind of reaction?

So what’s the story with Friar Dom?

A 2018 Yahoo Sports story noted that Providence’s first mascot in 1935 was a Dalmatian. Yes, a dog would hang out at the edge of the field during games. But the lifespan of a dog requires a new iteration of mascot to be found/adopted every few years.

Thus, from 1963 to 1993, a friendly costumed mascot was used, as reported by the New York Post. But a good dog was called to take the job in 1993.

“On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the college, (Providence) unveiled Friar Boy V, a beloved living Dalmatian,” the Yahoo story noted.

Alas, Friar Boy V passed away and in 2002 a decision was made.

The school ditched the dogs for good and went with a conventional mascot, though that might be overkill when talking about Friar Dom.

“Friar Dom, who wears the traditional Dominican Friar cowl, underwent some aesthetic changes over the years until he became the scary, gaunt sight he is today,” wrote Kirsten Fleming of The New York Post in 2018.

“Why would anyone want to make a pious Dominican friar look like the bad man in ‘Poltergeist II’? What if I told you that the same Canadian company (Sugar’s Mascot Costumes of Toronto) made the adorable Snuggles, the fabric softener bear? (True story.)”

This Snuggles bear certainly doesn’t scare people away. On the other hand, Brother Dom certainly does.

Why would Providence impose this mascot on a nation? This may be a sign that the Post and Yahoo stories both refer to a story on the Providence College website that no longer exists. Perhaps the school is trying to dissociate itself from the “nightmarish fuel” of the mascots.

Heck, even Providence College students are a little scared of the guy, like this video 2017 shows.

This story was originally published March 25, 2022 12:45 p.m.

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