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Thursday, November 02, 2006

He’s back. Willie the Wave!

I received an email today from my good buddy Josh Rhea today with a link to something that I never thought I would see again. That’s right, Willie the Wave has been resurrected as the mascot for Pepperdine University. How can this be? At least Pepperdine will no longer be the only Division 1A school without a mascot after the ill conceived assassination of King Neptune by the “WAVE MEN”.

To tell you the truth, this day could not have come sooner for me. I have missed Willie since the day he was taken from us back in 1996, things just never felt right with him gone. Willie was a real part of the Seaver College experience and then suddenly it changed.

With the launch of the 1996-1997 basketball campaign the decision was made to go away from Willie and in a new direction. As part of the new direction my fraternity Psi Upsilon (Lambda Omega Sigma at the time), was asked to take part in the unveiling of the new Mascot, “King Neptune”. So, as part of the ceremony we carried a surf board out into the audience at the Midnight Madness with the King riding on top. In an interesting twist, numbers of fans in the audience were chanting “We Want Willie! We Want Willie!” And in many ways, I was too – on the inside. However, over time the King – or “Papa Smurf” as he was affectionately known became accepted, however never really loved.

So, for the past few years Pepperdine has been the only Division 1A school without a mascot, and based on the “Wave Men drown” article by Austin Nelson for the Graphic at Pepperdine, an unveiling of the “WAVE MEN” was a disaster back in August of 2005 that was two years in the making.

But Willie is back! The jury is still out on whether he is better than ever – I am still partial to the original Willie we got used to in the 1990’s – but at least Pepperdine has a mascot for the new students to love and us older ones to reminisce about.