Proof that we should have been the Emus a long time ago

A loyal reader sent me this first page of an interesting little article the other day, something I think of as a bit of a “smoking gun” in the never-ending discussion about EMU’s mascot.  From way back in April 1991 (I think) comes at least part of the column “Call them the Emus of EMU” by then Ann Arbor News sports editor/now EMU PR/media guy Geoff Larcom.  That link will open a PDF of the clipping.

I am assuming this is referring to some kind of survey/poll conducted by Larcom et al around the name change.  It doesn’t look like there was a whole lot of voters here, but the mascot winner back then by a landslide was the Emu.  Which again makes me wonder: how the heck did we end up as eagles?

Incidentally, second place was “the Hurons,” though not necessarily after the American Indian tribe.  A quote:

[John Bulmer] prefers that name [“The Hurons”]: “1. In honor of the lovely river of that name that flows by the campus; 2. In honor of the Huron valley, in which EMU is located; and 3. It’s a practical name that comes from the name of the main street that runs from I-94 and downtown Ypsilanti to the lovely EMU campus.”

Oh, if EMU had only listened to Larcom and his readers so long ago….


4 thoughts on “Proof that we should have been the Emus a long time ago

  1. You hit a BIG nail on the head with this one. The Huron name change was a big deal but the change to the Eagles further compounded the damage to past Hurons who saw the switch as a safe, generic way to get past the current issue.

    The students at the time would have (somewhat) accepted a change that allowed for some ownership. The “EMUs” would have been better and we would have been the only ones. I remember reading a suggestion to become the “Water Towers” or “Fighting Towers” as the Ypsi landmark is undeniably EMU … even with the phalic reference the name would (or could have) been emraced as original and totally TRUE EMU.

    But there were smarter people than I back in 1991 … where are those people now anyway? Still here? Of course not.


  2. Well, the Eagles and the Swoop mascot are a much better alternative than that “Howard the Duck” mutation that hatched from an egg many moons ago and was foisted on the fans during an EMU basketball team. Whoever came up with that idea should have been summarily shot. And that duck should have been hard-boiled ahead of time.


    • What was the Howard the Duck thing?

      Hindsight is perfect and I was not at all connected with EMU back when this was an issue, but it seems to me that there was always a pretty easy solution here: keep the name “The Hurons,” but change the mascot get rid of the stereotypical and offensive “Indian Brave” logo on the helmet. Huron refers to so many things other than the tribe– counties, lakes, rivers, streets, valleys, etc. Then maybe we could have had an emu bird as a mascot, making us sorta like the Akron “Zips” who have a kangaroo mascot, or the University of Alabama “Crimson Tide” who have an elephant as a mascot.


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