Whether he's licking fans with a two-foot tongue or swallowing jackets, Xavier's Blue Blob is hard to miss
In 1985, Xavier University's spirit squad coordinator Sally Watson decided that the school needed a new mascot. The school already had an appropriate mascot with the swashbuckling musketeer D'Artagnan, but Watson thought the large sword-bearing man scared children. So she decided to design a smiling, furry, amorphous character for children to love.
The Blue Blob has been a staple at Xavier ever since. Nationally, the mascot has appeared in two SportsCenter commercials, including one with Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and frequently appears on various lists of the strangest and most absurd mascots.
Yet despite his popularity, the character's backstory is largely unknown amongst the student body. This void has led to the students' creation of several fictional origin stories.
"There's a lot of myths on why the Blue Blob was created," Xavier junior Thomas Kozlovich, the current Blue Blob, said. "The most popular was that (Xavier) faced UC (University of Cincinnati) and whatever team won or lost would end up getting the Blue Blob. That's not true at all."
In the three decades since Watson introduced the Blob to Xavier, the Blob's energetic personality has become a tradition on the Xavier sidelines. Children and students alike have grown to love the Blob's unique acts, such as licking fans with its nearly two-foot long tongue or shoving things down its mouth, such as Kelly's Hall of Fame jacket in the SportsCenter commercial. That youthful energy is something that Kozlovich tries to convey every time he puts on the suit.
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"The way that we always describe it to one another is if you were to picture yourself as your six- or seven year-old self. You get yourself into small mischief and you pout."
Perhaps the defining moment of the Blob's career came during a win over Alabama in December 2014. Parodying the Crimson Tide's signature "Roll Tide Roll" chant, Xavier gave out T-shirts emblazoned with "Roll Blob" at the game while fans yelled "Roll Blob Roll" as the mascot somersaulted across the Cintas Center floor. After Xavier's success on the court that day, the Blue Blob's trademark move was born.
"'Roll Blob' was actually started four years ago, but it didn't really take full charge until the Alabama game." Kozlovich said. "After that game, it's just blown up because it's just signature to our mascot. We actually bought a new suit and absolutely destroyed it last year because of the amount of rolling that we did. The suit wasn't made for that much rolling."
Even with the love and attention that the Blob receives, it is not easy to share the sideline with D'Artagnan. The coexistence of the two mascots has led to something of a rivalry between supporters of each on campus.
"A lot of the college kids either love you or hate you," Kozlovich said. "They'll tell you, 'Oh, I prefer D'Artagnan' or 'I prefer the Blob.'"
Brent Raines is SI's campus correspondent for Xavier University. Follow him on Twitter.