Amherst College chooses Mammoths as mascot

  • Children watch a giant mammoth and a calf model at the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany, Friday, Nov. 19, 2010. A new exhibition shows the giants of the ice age in the famous valley, where the Neanderthal Man was found. Amherst College announced on Monday that it is adopting the Mammoths as its mascot. AP

Published: 4/4/2017 11:37:12 PM

AMHERST — A chorus of “Go Mammoths” will soon erupt from the stands of LeFrak Gymnasium, Lehrman Stadium and around the Amherst College campus.

The school announced its first official mascot Monday — the Mammoths.

It won a vote of alumni, students, faculty and staff from March 20-31 from among five finalists. There were 9,295 participants in the election. The other finalists included the Fighting Poets, Purple and White, Valley Hawks and Wolves.

“I was really hoping to be the Valley Hawks, but I’m not strongly opposed,” said Granby’s Megan Sullivan, who plays basketball at Amherst. “My only complaint is that Tufts is the Jumbos, which is a little too similar.”

Amherst beat Tufts to win the Division III women’s basketball national championship last month and has been developing a rivalry with the Jumbos. The announcement sat well with men’s soccer coach Justin Serpone, whose team won a national title in 2016. It was during that championship run when the nickname Lord Jeffs were dropped from usage.

“We’re pumped to have a cool mascot,” he said.

There isn’t an exact timetable for when Amherst’s teams will be able to don uniforms bearing the Mammoth name and likeness. Amherst athletic director Don Faulstick said the college plans to unveil a logo later this year.

“We’ll be incorporating the name into our various programs pretty soon,” he said. “Now we can move forward and think about the branding opportunities and continue to build community around the Mammoths.”

Football coach E.J. Mills doesn’t expect adding a mascot to affect his team’s play on the field

“I don’t think it’s going to help us win any games,” he said. “I’m a big tradition guy, and this is a new tradition. I fully endorse the mammoth.”

A mammoth skeleton was brought to the college in 1925 by professor Frederick Brewster Loomis. It is currently located in the school’s Beneski Museum of Natural History.

This selection marks the end of a process that began in January 2016, when Amherst announced it would no longer use the Lord Jeffs as a nickname or mascot, unofficial or not.

Lord Jeffery Amherst served as an officer in the military of the United Kingdom during the 18th century. He is alleged to have advocated for using biological warfare against American Indians during various conflicts in North America during that period.

The finalists were selected from a list of 30 semifinalists in February. Two of the top vote-getters in the semifinal field, the moose and hamsters, were left off the final list.

The semifinalists were narrowed down from more than 2,000 mascot suggestions originally raised in the fall of 2016.

“I think everybody had a vote in the whole deal,” Faulstick said. “The process and the decision was made to represent the entire community, which is something that a mascot should do.”


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