The newest Yale mascot, Handsome Dan XVIII, has been selected, the Yale University Athletics department reports.
The Olde English Bulldogge was born on Sept. 23, 2016, and is a true New Englander, coming from a breeder in Maine. He was part of a litter that included a brother and five sisters.
Yale athletics conducted a national search for the next mascot after the passing of Sherman (Handsome Dan XVII), who was a familiar figure on the sidelines at games, serving as arguably the most famous mascot in college sports for more than nine years.
Going into the search process, the athletic department was aware of current breeding concerns of English bulldogs. Chris Getman ’64, the caretaker of four Yale mascots, recommended looking for an Olde English Bulldogge — a larger, stronger, and healthier version of the breed that got its name herding bulls.
Handsome Dan XVIII will now attend a training school befitting an Ivy League icon before assuming the role of big dog on the Yale campus. Yale fans will be able to follow him on Instagram @HandsomeDanXVIII and Twitter @HandsomeDan18.
The new keeper of the mascot is Kevin Discepolo ’09, a former lacrosse player who is now Yale’s assistant athletic director of facilities, operations and events. Handsome Dan XVIII will come to work at Ray Tompkins House, and Discepolo will take Dan on daily walks around campus, as well as to the many contests hosted by Yale.
“It’s an honor to be involved with such a long-standing Yale tradition,” said Discepolo. “For over a century, Handsome Dans have provided excitement for Yale students, faculty and our fans. While this puppy might be the cutest mascot in college athletics, or rather the most handsome, I’m confident he will grow into a strong and courageous bulldog who will inspire our student-athletes for many years.”
The history of Handsome Dan dates to 1889, when Andrew Graves ’92S, a football player and rower during the days of Walter Camp, first named Yale’s mascot. The Bulldog tradition began a few years earlier, in 1890, when Harper, a champion English bulldog, was brought to football games to inspire the athletes.
Getman, a former Eli baseball player, took care of most of Yale's mascots over the last 33 years, including Sherman, Maurice, Whizzer, and Louis. The exception was Mugsy.