YoUDee (pronounced yoo-dee) is a mascot of the University of Delaware, along with Baby Blue. It is an anthropomorphic "fighting Blue Hen", and its species is the blue hen, as the state bird of Delaware. While YoUDee appears masculine and can have male or female performers, it is "officially androgynous",[1][2] "neither female or male".[3][4]

YoUDee
YoUDee Laying Down.jpg
YoUDee laying on Raymond Field
UniversityUniversity of Delaware
ConferenceCAA
DescriptionBlue Hen Chicken
First seen1993
Related mascot(s)Baby Blue, Air YouDee
Hall of Fame2006

According to the University of Delaware, YoUDee's colors are Blue and Gold because its great-great-great-grandfather was awarded the Gold Medal for Valor during the Battle of Trenton in the American Revolutionary War. The men in the company commanded by Captain Jonathan Caldwell actually carried Blue Hens with them into combat in order to hold cockfights in their spare time. It is said that the men under Capt. Caldwell had bravery in battles that was comparable to their fighting blue hen chickens.[5]

HistoryEdit

Pre-YoUDeeEdit

In 1911, the University of Delaware adopted the Blue Hen as its official mascot.[6]

In the 1930s, the initial physical mascot was a live blue chicken that was tended to by members of the cheerleading team.[6][7][8] It is unclear if it was a blue hen, or a chicken with blue feathers, as it is believed there are no true descendants of "fighting blue hens of Revolutionary War times."[9]

Starting in 1950, several costumed "Fightin' Blue Hen" mascots existed. Little is known about them besides the fact that they were "a variety of light and dark blue suits."[6] Few photographs of them can be found.[10][11][12] All of the costumes were presumably retired before YoUDee appeared.[13]

One reader of The News Journal in Wilmington requested that the one of the old mascot's costume be displayed in the nearby Bob Carpenter Center). This reader was not alone, as a petition with over 1,000 signatures circulated the state of Delaware, demanding the same. The Athletics Department responded and objected to the petition on the grounds that there's was no room for it, and that "it would be inappropriate."[10] Articles from the time indicated that at football games, the old mascots were ridiculed and pelted with items such as "marshmallows" and "batteries" by students on a frequent basis.[14] It is unclear if this was a recurring skit coordinated by the mascot team, or represented student emotions at the time.

A successor mascot would take its place. When the University of Delaware President David Roselle was questioned as to why there would be a new mascot, he said "[well], the obvious answer is, the old one wore out."[15]

HatchingEdit

YoUDee was first seen (or "hatched") at the Delaware-Lehigh football game in Delaware Stadium on September 4, 1993,[6][15][16][17] after being created by Real Characters (an Atlanta-based advertising agency.)[18] Student performers were scouted to wear the costume. After two students applied and performed in tryouts, Robert Boudwin became the first performer of YoUDee. Boudwin worked to build YoUDee's personality and far-reaching image from "Delaware's infamous mascot" to "ass kickin' chickens."[19][20] With help from David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic,[21] the university mascot program has become a gateway to several professional mascot careers.

Chris Bruce, a 2002 graduate that earned YoUDee its initial first-place finish, joined Raymond's mascot-making company, Real Characters. Brandon Williams, a 2003 graduate became the Baltimore Ravens mascot Poe.[22] Other YoUDee alumni went on to perform Philadelphia Eagles' mascot Swoop, and Boudwin went on to perform as Clutch of the Houston Rockets.[23][24][25]

Some controversy was aroused in November 1995 when YoUDee "mocked" middies (Midshipmen) at the United States Naval Academy.[26] According to reports some time after the incident, the disturbance was YoUDee mooning Midshipmen, then attempting to carry away the Academy's two goat statues. It is speculated that the act was part of some fraternity hazing requirement.[27] Though, not everyone viewed this as mocking, as there were purportedly "many fans, both Navy and Delaware" that enjoyed the mascot's behavior and performance, both before and during the game.[28]

YoUDee was "listed as one of the 16 worst college mascots in the nation" in a Newsweek issue in 1997. By those interviewed at the time, it is believed this designation was given because YoUDee is "unique" or "not tough enough."[6] In contrast, in 2005, YoUDee was chosen to star in a nationwide ESPN News advertisement,[29] and allegedly appeared on Wheel of Fortune, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Good Day Philadelphia.[30]

Another dispute was with concerns over a skit. In 2006, YoUDee would be carrying a cake, and a staff member would be displaying a sign that read "Happy Birthday Megan!" As the mascot climbed the stands, it would trip and crash into someone with the cake. Later on, the person covered in cake would be wearing a shirt that read "I got caked by [YoUDee.]" Sharon Harris, then Mascot Coordinator at the University of Delaware, in an interview said these skits were staged, and the person receiving the cake would always be a mascot team member.[31]

The program has been directed by Sharon Harris under the University's Office of Public Relations since about 1999[21] until at least 2012,[32] although it is unclear at what time she stopped and when the University's Athletic department took over the program.[33]

Hello, YoUDee!Edit

Dana Davis made a children's book titled Hello, YoUDee! which was released and published in 2013 by Mascot Books.[34][35] It follows YoUDee around the University of Delaware campus before going to the "stadium for the big game."[36] While the licensed book refers to YoUDee with masculine pronouns, YoUDee has been "neither male or female" since 2004.[4]

Awards and recognitionEdit

On August 16, 2006, YoUDee was inducted into the NCAA Mascot Hall of Fame, at a ceremony in Philadelphia's Love Park.[16][30] This was caused in large part by "YoUDee's fan leadership."[29]

YoUDee has participated and won the Universal Cheerleader's Association (UCA) National Mascot Championship open division several times:

UCA National Championship
Year Place Source
2020 2nd [37]
2019 1st [38]
2018 2nd [39]
2017 1st [40]
2016 1st [41]
2015 2nd
2014 2nd
2013 1st
2012 1st [42]
2011 1st [43]
2010 2nd
2009 1st [43]
2008 5th [44]
2007 7th [45]
2006 4th [46]
2005 4th [47]
2004 3rd [24]
2003 8th [48]
2002 1st [29][43][46]
2001 4th
2000 5th
1999 2nd [49][50]

In 2002, YoUDee won first place in the entire UCA National Mascot Championship. At some point after 2002, the mascot competition would be split into Division I for mascots belonging to universities with Division I football teams, and Open Mascot for all other mascots. The latter division being the one YoUDee would compete in.[43]

YoUDee has also been named to Capital One All-America Mascot Team in 2003,[51][52] as well as first place in several UCA Mascot summer camps.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "7 Sep 2012, Page B7 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  2. ^ Aitken, Cassy (March 23, 2001). "YoUDee unplucked by fellow mascots". UDSpace. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "9 Jul 2008, Page 49 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  4. ^ a b Bishop, Natalie (February 20, 2004). "Ten years of YoUDee mascot". UDSpace. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  5. ^ "YoUDee Profile". University of Delaware Athletics. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Stock, Susan (September 12, 1997). "Blue Hens make worst mascot list". UDSpace. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "Collections". University Archives and Records Management. 2018. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "The Man About Town". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. November 18, 1947. p. 6. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  9. ^ White, Jim (August 13, 1987). "Does our state bird, the blue hen, really exist?". 13 Aug 1987, Page 108 - The Morning News at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Tarrant, Shirley (January 28, 2003). "Our Readers' Views: UD's first Blue Hen mascot deserves showcase in Bob". News Journal. Wilmington, DE. p. A8.
  11. ^ "Blue Hen Yearbook 1991, Organizations". UDSpace. 1991. p. 198. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  12. ^ ""The Spirit of Homecoming"". University Archives and Records Management. 2018. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  13. ^ McKelvey, Judith (August 21, 1986). "21 Aug 1986, Page 88 - The Morning News at Newspapers.com". Wilmington, DE. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  14. ^ "1 Feb 2006, Page 58 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  15. ^ a b Graham, Jim (September 5, 1993). "05 Sep 1993, Page 41 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". Wilmington, DE. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Get to know our 20 Hall of Famers! | Mascot Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "YoUDee - Join the Team". www1.udel.edu. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "29 Jan 2006, Page 39 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  19. ^ Vavala, Carol (1996). "Blue Hen Yearbook 1996, Student Life". UDSpace. pp. 16, 22. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  20. ^ "29 Jan 2006, Page 33 - The News Journal at Newspapers.com". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  21. ^ a b Bacolo, Adrian (October 12, 1999). "Who will be the new YoUDee?". UDSpace. p. A7. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  22. ^ Mbugua, Martin (July 14, 2008). "Ravens' mascot Poe, former YoUDee, voted fiercest mascot". UDaily. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "Mascot: Former YoUDees often go on to pro teams". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. January 29, 2006. p. 39. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  24. ^ a b Moncure, Sue (February 13, 2004). "Many faces of YoUDee to attend 10th birthday bash". UDaily Archive. Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  25. ^ Moncure, Sue (November 23, 2005). "Alum named NBA Mascot of the Year". UDaily. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  26. ^ Tomashek, Tom (November 14, 1995). "Ruffled feathers, clipped wings". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. p. 1. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  27. ^ White, Brian (September 4, 1996). "A primer when college football really starts". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. p. 23. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Woolard, James (December 3, 1995). "No apology need for mascot's behavior". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. p. 82. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  29. ^ a b c Dieffenbach, Kate (September 27, 2005). "YoUDee struts its stuff on television". UDSpace. Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  30. ^ a b Mbugua, Martin (August 16, 2006). "YoUDee inducted into Mascot Hall of Fame". UDaily Archive. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  31. ^ Spark (October 4, 2006). "Ask Spark? Anything. Really". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. p. 56. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  32. ^ Sininsky, Leah (April 17, 2012). "Students compete for spot as Blue Hen mascot". UDSpace. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  33. ^ "Spirit & Traditions". University of Delaware Athletics. Archived from the original on March 8, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  34. ^ Cobourn, Jack (August 5, 2013). "YoUDee stars in Newark native's latest children's book". Newark Post Online. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  35. ^ "ISBN Search". Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  36. ^ "University of Delaware "Hello, YoUDee!" Children's Book". National 5 & 10 Stores, Inc. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  37. ^ "2020 UCA & UDA College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championship Results". Varsity TV. January 20, 2020. p. Mascot Results. Archived from the original on January 21, 2020. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  38. ^ "See the results for the 2019 UCA & UDA College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championship varsity tv event on Varsity.com". tv.varsity.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  39. ^ "See the results for the 2018 UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship varsity tv event on Varsity.com". tv.varsity.com. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  40. ^ "UCA & UDA College: Mascot Results 2017". tv.varsity.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  41. ^ "2016 UCA & UDA College National Championship Results — Mascots - Open". tv.varsity.com. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  42. ^ Rhodes, Jerry (January 24, 2012). "UD spirit teams among best at national championships". Newark Post Online. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  43. ^ a b c d Sorentino, Jessica (February 10, 2011). "Championship highlights strength of mascot program". UDSpace. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  44. ^ Lipman, Sarah (January 25, 2008). "UD spirit teams take top prizes at national championships". UDaily. Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  45. ^ "Spirit Team send-off exhibition set Jan. 15". UDaily. January 9, 2008. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  46. ^ a b "Mascot: Former YoUDees often go on to pro teams". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. January 29, 2006. p. 39. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  47. ^ Hutchinson, Becca (January 21, 2005). "UD shines in Spirit Team nationals". UDaily Archive. Archived from the original on February 5, 2005. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  48. ^ Thomas, Beth (January 14, 2003). "UD dance team takes second, mascot and cheerleaders place eighth, at nationals". UDaily Archive. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  49. ^ "YoUDee puts a feather in his cap at Fla. competition". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. January 14, 1999. p. 5. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  50. ^ "UD recognizes its spritied pep squads". The News Journal at Newspapers.com. Wilmington, DE. January 25, 1999. p. 6. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  51. ^ "The Last Word". The News Journal. Wilmington, DE. August 6, 2003. p. 43. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  52. ^ "CapitalOne 2003 Mascot Bowl". ESPN. 2003. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.

External linksEdit