Prior to 1920, the University of Washington
had two unofficial mascots-first the
Indians, and later the Vikings. Neither name
seemed appropriate, so most local publications
referred to the university's athletic teams as the "purple and
gold." Midway through the scholastic year of 1920, the Associated
Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) held general
elections and voted to adopt "Sundodger" as its official mascot.
The name was quickly adopted by the alumni's publication, "Washington
Alumnus," which sported a smiling figure named Sunny
holding an umbrella. Many people took Sundodger to be a negative
reference to the city's rainy weather. In 1922, after mounting
pressure from local newspapers and businesses, the university
considered finding a more suitable representative for the school.
Arriving at the Husky
A committee was formed by the ASUW to take on the daunting
task of naming a new mascot. Many argued that Sundodger had no
particular meaning, could not be characterized and reflected an
untrue climatic condition of the state. The committee considered
several mascots and took another look at the previously considered
Husky as a potential winner. At a basketball game in early February
1922, the Husky was officially introduced as the new mascot.
The Husky was favored because it was easy to cartoon, a
fitting name for an athletic team, and is short and easy to use in
newspaper headlines. In an unofficial poll the following week, the
school's paper, the Daily, published that 16 of 24 students and
faculty favored Husky over Sundodger. The committee believed the
Husky captured the true spirit of the Northwest because Seattle
was recognized as the "Gateway to the Alaskan frontier."
The UW uses the Husky breed, the Alaskan Malamute, because
it is the largest and strongest of all Husky breeds.
Frosty I and II
In 1922, the first in the line of Husky mascots was adopted by
the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Frosty was a fox gray puppy
with a sweet disposition that fans grew to like instantly. The new
pup lived with his fraternity brothers and
attended football games with great enthusiasm.
After a winning football season, the
Husky football team went to the 1924
Rose Bowl. Frosty made his California
debut in the Tournament of Roses Parade,
trotting alongside the Husky Marching
Band the entire nine miles. Frosty was not
only sociable, he had nomadic tendencies.
He often roamed the neighborhoods in and
around the university campus. An understanding
taxi cab company agreed to
escort the social butterfly home free of
charge when he was found wandering.
From 1930 to 1936, Frosty II took
over the position of mascot. Then a 10-
year period followed before the university
adopted its third Alaskan Husky.
WaskyIn 1946, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity adopted a new
Husky pup that had not yet been named. The Daily held a contest
to find a suitable name for the new addition. The committee
narrowed the field to three choices: Oskewawa, Boe-Wow-Wow
and Wasky. The names were placed in a hat and a winner was
drawn: Wasky. The name, submitted by student Marie L.
Vanderspek, was a combination of the words Washington and
Husky. Her prize for submitting the winning name was a 1947 Tyee
yearbook and a pair of tickets to the Washington-Oregon game.
Wasky kept his title for six years and was followed by Wasky II
in 1947. In 1954, Ski became head dog at the university.
In 1958, Denali entered the ranks as the sixth Husky mascot; he
was the first mascot to be cared for by an "official" handler. The
name Denali means "Great White One." Although he was tall and
muscular with a masked face, Denali did not look like a Husky and
did not attend a single football game during his
tenure. According to Harry Cross, the official
handler at that time, Denali was given to the UW
by the University of Alaska student body, who
chose him out of a big litter. He turned out to
look like an overgrown fox terrier, not much like
King ChinookKing Chinook made his first appearance as the
Husky mascot at the Idaho game in 1959. Harry
Cross's son, Kim, watched the dog from the
sidelines. Because he was overly social, he
required a large contingent of overseers to keep
him corralled during exciting times.
During a game against Illinois, King Chinook
got loose and ran out onto the field to make
friends with the players. He bullied his way into
the middle of the huddle, sniffing and licking the
hands of the Illinois' players. Timeout was called
while Professor Cross and his son hurried onto
the field to retrieve the dog.
Sadly, in October 1968, King Chinook died
after being hit by a truck.
In 1969, the next mascot, Regent Denali, was
adopted from a puppy kennel in Carnation,
Washington. This dog had a temperament all his
own! He was very feisty and had little
patience with people who simply did not
interest him. For the first time, the university
had a mascot, that while friendly,
would walk away from anyone he did not
deem worthy of his attention.
At the conclusion of one game, Regent
was tied to the end of a bench and given a
large bone to chew on as a reward for a
job well done. An injured player plopped
down on the bench near the dog. An eager
photographer hurried over to take the player's
picture, oblivious of the mascot. The photographer
accidentally stepped on Regent's tail,
interrupting his snack. The dog instantly turned
his attention to the photographer and snapped
warning nips at him.
Sundodger DenaliSundodger Denali was purchased by the athletic department
from a kennel in Tamarack, Washington, in 1981. Ten years later,
Sundodger was scheduled to appear in the Tournament of Roses
Parade along with the Husky Marching Band. In order to line up for
the parade on time, the band had to leave its hotel at 4:00 in the
morning. So the top dog spent the night before with Husky band
director Bill Bissell and his family. The band staff met the Cross
family and Sundodger at a secluded back door of the band's hotel
and quietly herded him up a back stairwell. Safely in the Bissells'
room for the night, Sundodger enjoyed the New Year's Eve
celebration. Early the next morning, after spending a comfortable
night snoozing on the balcony, Sundodger joined the members of
the band and cheer squad aboard the bus, wandering up and down
A tragedy nearly occurred the next year enroute to the 1992
Rose Bowl, when airline personnel began loading the sedated
Sundodger into an unpressurized cargo hold. Luckily, band staff
member Ken Noreen spotted what was happening and called
attention right away to the potential disaster. Sundodger was
immediately moved to a pressurized hold and made the trip safely.
In 1992, King
Redoubt became the
eighth Alaskan malamute
to serve as the Husky
mascot. His name,
Redoubt, means "bastion"
The most enthusiastic of the lot thus far, Redoubt tore around the
Crosses' yard howling whenever members of the family donned
their purple and gold game-day outfits. And during the playing of
the national anthem prior to each game at the stadium, Redoubt
would throw his head back and howl. After the anthem, Redoubt
led the football team out of the tunnel before every home game.
Accompanied by trainer Kim Cross and his children, Ryan and
Karin, who acted as handlers, Redoubt wandered the sidelines
during the game, greeting fans in their seats.
One of the more inauspicious moments during "the King's"
reign occurred at the conclusion of the 1996 season. The band
arrived in San Diego for the Holiday Bowl, but upon checking in,
found out that the hotel would not allow Redoubt to stay in the
Crosses' room. After Kim Cross and the band staff were discovered
trying to sneak the mascot up the back staircase, Redoubt had
to spent the rest of the trip at a hotel down the street.
In August 1998, King Redoubt succumbed to a heat wave and
passed away the night before Seattle's Torchlight Parade.
With King Redoubt's sudden unexpected passing, the athletic
department had less than a month to find a new dog to take over
the throne. Four years earlier, King Redoubt had sired three puppies
to a championship malamute, Princess Redoubt, owned by UW
graduate Jim Robinson. Robinson had named a male puppy Prince
Redoubt because of his stunning resemblance to his father. Prince
was as mellow as King, and although not trained as a mascot, he
followed in the paw prints of his father during the 1998 football
season. The four-year-old mascot earned the nickname "Junior"
early on and wore the name proudly as he bounded happily around
the stadium howling for his team.
SpiritIn 1999, the UW crowned yet another
Alaskan malamute as the current mascot. Like
many before him, Spirit is mellow, easy-going
and never seems to be bothered by large crowds
or adoring fans.
In January 2001, when the Husky football
team played in the Rose Bowl, Spirit and the
Cross family accompanied the band to Pasadena.
The trainers and the dog enjoyed a business suite
at the hotel where they were staying. Late one
evening, Spirit heard a barrage of sirens outside
the hotel. He hurried out onto the balcony to join
in on the fun. Tossing his head back, Spirit sang
as loud as he was able along with the sirens.
Many of the hotel guests appeared on their
balconies to see what all the commotion was
about. Kim Cross was able to hush the dog
quickly while apologizing to the onlookers. More
than anything else, other guests seemed amused
by Spirit's antics.
Spirit retired from game action in August 2008.
Dubs I, was named the University of Washington's 13th live mascot in February of 2009. He is an Alaskan Malamute from a kennel in Burlington, Washington. He was born in November of 2008 and is living with his family in Seattle.
In late September 2008, the school announced an initiative to search for an appropriate name for its live mascot that would remain an ongoing UW tradition. A contest was launched on GoHuskies.com and fans were asked to submit their favorite name for the live Husky dog.
More than 1,400 different nominations were received and a committee that consisted of campus and community representatives narrowed the field to a reasonable list of finalists, including: Admiral, Dubs, King, Koda, Legend, Reign, Spirit and Sundodger. More than 20,000 votes were received in two rounds of online voting via GoHuskies.com, with Dubs emerging victorious.