Ever wondered why we’re the Runnin’ Bulldogs?
We did some digging in the University Archives to explore the history behind the mascot. From live bulldogs to the traditional mascot, there is a proud heritage of Gardner-Webb Bulldogs – beginning as early as 1947.
Records from the University Archives indicate that the first “live” mascot was Butch I, a registered English Bulldog that served as the mascot for Gardner-Webb Junior College from 1947-1953. An article appearing in a 1947 publication of the Anchor described Buch I as a campus fixture that regularly chose busy hallways for naps. Butch I lived primarily with Coach Wayne Bradburn until 1952, when he moved to the home of Dean O.J. Terrell to spend his twilight years. Butch I passed away in 1953. A second Bulldog, Butch II, served as the live mascot from 1953-1955.
Mac, the traditional mascot, has been around for many years, appearing at athletic and admissions events, starring in videos and posing for photos across campus. Although there have been different versions of the Mac costume over the years, the loveable bulldog remains relatively unchanged and recognizable. The traditional female mascot, LuLu, was introduced around 1989 by former student Joy Cole. According to a 1991 article in The Pilot, Cole started the role of the female mascot to represent Gardner-Webb College and present a positive image of the school during games. As mascot, her main objective was to entertain students, children, and adults while supporting the players. LuLu is still around today and was even married to Mac, in February 2015. The ceremony was held in Paul Porter Arena.
A brief timeline of the “live” mascots:
Butch I - 1947 – 1953. Butch I seems to be the earliest live bulldog that served as a mascot for Gardner-Webb Junior College.
Butch II - 1953 – 1955. Butch II became mascot after Butch I passed in 1953. He lived with football player Gerald Freeman, of Shelby.
Chins – 1955. A mascot for one year, Chins lived with the Plaster family of Shelby. Mrs. Plaster was an organ teacher at Gardner-Webb during this time.
Victor I - 1960 – 1969. Bud McSwain, an avid athletics supporter, and Boling Springs resident, was Victor I’s caretaker. McSwain also served as postmaster of Boiling Springs.
Victor II – 1969. Victor II became mascot after the passing of Victor I in 1969 and held the title for approximately one year.
After 1969, there was no official “live” Bulldog mascot until Roebuck “Bucky” was given the title in 2015.
Roebuck "Bucky" - 2015 to present. Roebuck was named after late Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Services, Mike Roebuck, who passed away in 2015. Bucky visits campus often, and has even made his debut on camera – starring in the recent Valentine’s Day video, “Roebuck Finds a Valentine.”
Special thanks to Dr. Natalie Bishop, Associate Dean of the Library and University Archivist, for providing records and photographs. Interested in exploring GWU’s history? Take a look at the University’s Digital Commons for access to the University’s archives and other collections.