Mascot, Nickname and Traditions
Discover the origination of the University of Washington mascot and nickname. We also spotlight Washington stars that were Heisman finalist and ones that made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
University of Washington
Mascot Traditions: KING REDOUBT & HARRY HUSKY
The Alaskan Malamute, a dog noted for its ability to pull sleds across the frozen tundra of northern North America, also is known for warming the hearts of Washington fans by representing the university as its mascot. Strangely enough this breed finished second place in the school’s nickname race that now is the lead dog when it comes to mascots.
The tail-wagging tradition of incorporating dogs into Husky athletics began in 1922 when Frosty I began barking for the school. Frosty’s mascot career lasted until 1929 when he was replaced by Frosty II.
Other dogs in the mascot line have included Wasky, Wasky II, Ski, Denali, Sundodger and King Redoubt is the eighth breed of this type to wag his tail on behalf of the school’s athletic teams. When King Reboubt stepped forward in the early 90s, he became the eighth Alaskan Malamute to serve as the Husky mascot.
Husky mascots actually learned to walk on two legs in 1996. But before you look for the segment on “Those Amazing Animals,” the walking Husky is a person dressed in a Husky costume. The school’s furry friend is known as Harry the Husky, who also helps to stir school spirit.
Before the Husky served its Washington master, a wooden statue that carried two books under his right arm and a football under the other filled the mascot role. The three-and-a-half foot figure named Sunny Boy served prior to the 1920s when the university’s teams were still known as the Sundodgers.
The smiling statue was a sculptured replica of Sunny, a grinning character who appeared in the university’s humor magazine. Sunny Boy now stands firm in the school’s Alumni Association building despite a 23 year disappearance that ended with his 1948 discovery in South Bend, Ind. The statue’s lengthy journey began when it was abducted from its fraternity house residence and smuggled out of state.
Husky Stadium This facility first opened in 1920 and through several renovations and expansions will have jumped from a 30,000 seat stadium to one that holds more than 70,000.
The playing field was originally dirt, but thankfully has emerged to have grass and later artificial. When the University first installed Astro Turf in 1968, the Huskies program became the just the 2nd major college (Tennessee) to use an artificial surface.
Another tradition the school shares with Tennessee, is the aquatic tailgating that takes place on Football Saturdays. It's not uncommon to have around 12,000 fans enjoying pregame tailgating on Lake Washington prior to kickoff.
Washington Huskies and the Heisman Trophy
The University is one of the top college football programs in the nation. The school has produced a long line of All-Americans, but has yet to see one of its players crowned with college football's top individual award.
The program's only top 4 finisher in the voting is the 4th place finish gained by Steve Emtman in 1991.
While not bringing home the stiff-armed trophy, Emtman captured the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award. The Consensus All-American was selected with the first pick of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Huskies in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
The University has seen three of its former players gain the honor of being enshrined into the Hall and having their bust reside in Canton, Ohio. The three NFL legends are:
- Hugh McElhenny HB (Class of 1970) - Played 13 NFL seasons and made six Pro Bowls.
- Arnie Weinmeister DT (Class of 1984) - Only played six pro seasons, but was dominating.
- Warren Moon QB (Class of 2006) - Won 5 straight CFL Cups and then dazzled NFL defenses for 17 seasons while being named to 9 Pro Bowls.