CAMMIE BAGLEY Executive director & news editor
No longer will Piedmont sports fans be yelling, “Go lions” in the stands as they support their teams. Instead, they will have to come up with a chant that revolves around the new Piedmont mascot, the Fighting Squirrels.
Many people may ask, “why the sudden change in mascot?” President Mellichamp and Athletic Director Jim Peeples felt that the squirrels would be a much more fitting representation of Piedmont.
“Our campus is run rampant with squirrels and, I mean, when is the last time you saw a lion running around Demorest,” said Mellichamp. “It just seems like a more realistic way to show other schools what Piedmont really is.”
Many students are pleased with this change because they feel that being known as the lions was too much to live up to.
“Honestly, being known as a Piedmont Lion indicated that we, as a student body, had to have alpha personalities and be really fierce,” said senior criminal justice major Libby Scoggins. “Now that we’ll be known as the squirrels, I feel that it will be easier to represent this school.”
The athletic teams will be purchasing all new gear in the near future and the athletic department is undergoing a rebranding process. According to Peeples, the plan is to have all new uniforms, logos and overall updates to the mascot change by the 2017 fall semester.
“We’re really excited to make this transition because our teams need a new and fresh start,” said Peeples. “Once we’re known as the squirrels, I feel like people will be more attracted to be an athlete here.”
Once all the merchandise is up to date, there will be a ceremony to celebrate the new mascot at a soccer game early in the fall semester. At the ceremony, the lion’s mascot uniform will be folded up and archived, while a student wears the new squirrel uniform.
Tryouts for the new mascot will be April 17 from 6-7 p.m. in the Johnny Mize Athletic Center. Students who are interested should be prepared to perform a dance routine and show how they would hype up the student body at sporting events if they were chosen as the mascot.
Other activities that students can participate in regarding the new mascot is the decision of what his name will be and who the real-life mascot will be. Students can submit a photo of their favorite, real-life squirrel on campus and whichever gets the most votes will be the live mascot. Student-athletes are very eager for this change because they feel that it will give their teams a whole new identity.
“I’m really excited to be known as a Piedmont Squirrel on the soccer field because I feel like it will give us an advantage,” said second-year soccer player Cooper Donnelly. “Other teams may assume that because we’re the squirrels, we’re a timid team that can’t do much. But once we’re on the field, they’ll be so shocked by our talent, that we’ll beat them before they even realize it. And, of course, the fans will go nuts for the Piedmont Squirrels.”
The transition from being known as the Piedmont Lions to the Fighting Squirrels will begin in the coming weeks. Students should be prepared to see the complete change once they return to campus in the fall. Go Squirrels!