The Evolution of Zippy
|The evolution of Zippy, The University of
Akron’s mascot, began when the student council, under
president Dave Frye and committee for a mascot chairman Bob Savoy
(an All-American diver for UA), decided the University needed a
“Zippy” the kangaroo was officially declared UA’s mascot on May 1, 1953.
The selection of the kangaroo for a mascot brought forth the wrath of The Buchtelite and the Akron Beacon Journal as the name was chosen without the benefit of a campus-wide vote. There was support for the new mascot with defenders saying, “the kangaroo is fast, agile, and powerful with undying determination – all the necessary qualities of an athlete.”
It is difficult to imagine there was dissent back then seeing as how Zippy is one of, if not the, most beloved symbols of the University. In fact, during an 11 weeklong national contest, Zippy defeated all challengers. Zippy, after a first-round bye in the playoffs, cruised to victories over Syracuse’s Otto in the semifinals and Minnesota’s Goldy Gopher in the final to become the 2007 Capital One Mascot of the Year.
Dick Hansford, UA student council advisor, liked the kangaroo – one of the finalist names, when Akron chose “Zippers” as its nickname. He recalled the suggestion was also inspired by a popular comic strip at the time called “Kicky, the fighting kangaroo.”
No one recalls who made the arrangements for the first costume, but a paper-mache head was produced along with a brown furry uniform that zipped up the back. Pete Demming debuted that first mascot uniform in 1954, at the inaugural Acme-Zip Game – not as “Zippy” but as “Mr. Zip”
The first known printed reference to the mascot as “Zippy” was a 1965 Zip football press brochure. The Buchtelite’s first use of the name “Zippy” came Sept. 24, 1965, in an identification of a photo of the cheerleaders listing “Mascot – ‘Zippy’ – Charles Huettner.”