UND adding a new mascot, the first since the Bleacher Creature

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) The University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks are beginning to search for a brand new mascot.

After a contentious fight to retire the Fight Sioux nickname and logo, UND officials said they'll have a, "good," process to pick a mascot.

Valley News Live, took a look back at the little known mascot history at UND.

"It's exciting," said Kyle Doperalski an official in the UND Athletics Department. "It will be the first time in 20, or more than 20 years."

UND wants to amp the game day experience by adding a mascot.

"Add an element to our games here that we just haven't had," Doperalski said.

It's something they haven't had since, "The Bleacher Creature that was roaming the stands at the hyslop center," Doperalski said.

As UND looks for a future mascot, we asked if anything could be learned from past mascots.

Brian Baier works in the archive department in the Chester Fritz Library.

"When this department started out, they didn't have trained archivists," Baier said.

Baier digs through boxes in what's called the vault.

Rows and rows of documents, images and artifacts. Although the story of the nicknames and imagery is well documented.

"Not a lot of evidence of costumed mascots," Baier said.

Just cheerleaders and pep kings... until...

"Boy, October of 1990, there was a lot of articles about a gorilla mascot," Baier said.

Thunder Bleacher Creature pops up in the student paper in the 90's.

"The green and pink gorilla became to topic of a hot debate," Baier said.
"All of the letters were in strong support of the mascot project and stated the mascot would increase school spirit."

UND then, trying the same thing UND is trying now.

But, the obvious difference.

"And that a green gorilla representing a Fighting Sioux, could be offensive to Native American culture," Baier said.

The bleacher creature vanished in the 90's.

Today, a new nickname for a new era. The question remains how they'll pick their new mascot.

"I think everyone is cognizant that the process needs to be good. And we're just in the beginning stages of talking about it," Doperalski said.

UND officials said students will be heavily involved in the decision making when it comes to the new mascot, however they still don't know what that process will look like.