Originally Published: Sep 21, 2009 3:33 PM CDT
Andrew Topps & Tara Vreeland
TULSA, Oklahoma-- The Tulsa Golden Hurricane unveiled its new Captain ‘Cane mascot. The Hurricane-type mascot has been a part of the TU tradition since 1977. The first the mascot was known as “Hurc” and later a transformation to the nickname “Huffy”. In the early 1990’s, Captain ‘Cane took on a new look.
According to the TU athletic department the Captain ‘Cane story goes like this . . . Colin Cane, a freshman at The University of Tulsa, worked in IT support at night to help pay his way through college. During an electrical storm one night, Colin was called to the TU sports complex to fix a malfunctioning satellite that was broadcasting a live game. Never again would he watch his favorite team in action as a mere mortal. As he adjusted the satellite, the roar of the crowd coursed through the transmitter just as it was zapped with static electricity from the storm. Colin became entangled in a web of cyber-athletic forces. The atmospheric oddity known as a “binary vortex” mutated Colin over the course of several years. He eventually lost his hair but gained super-human powers. Thus he became Captain ‘Cane, a champion athlete and highly educated zealot of all things TU.
Now the men who used to wear the mask weigh in on their beloved mascot's new look.
"The new mascot - it's at least great to see they have a smaller head that allows the new mascot a lot of mobility, a lot more stunts, you can do a lot more fun things when you can see and you can move," said John Wolfkill, Captain Cane from 1993 to 1997.
But how did Captain Cane evolve into this strapping superhero? John Wolfkill was a freshman at TU in 1993. He approached the coaching staff about becoming the official mascot but wasn't thrilled about the idea on the table.
"The idea they had was the TU Weatherman and he was kind of a goofy looking character with galoshes and a raincoat an umbrella," Wolfkill said.
So the superhero idea took flight.
"It really was a pretty functional suit - except for the head," Wolfkill recalled. "The head was 6 and 1/2 pounds of fiberglass."
But Captain Cane was almost defeated a decade later.
In 2003, there was a movement to change the mascot. It went as far as going to another company and they redesigned it in terms of a monster.
The madeover Captain Cane has had mixed reviews from fans.
"What will make me happy is if they find a student who is committed and is excited to be in the suit and will do it for the next four years," said Zach Efaw, Captain Cane from 2000 to 2004.
"That's great and to me that would make it worthwhile - and it does kind of look like Jay Leno," Efaw concluded.
"I'm so excited that they stuck with Captain 'Cane versus going with a bulldog or something completely unrelated to what Golden Hurricane means to most alums," said Wolfkill.
Whether the mascot is loved or loathed, Captain Cane lives to fight another day.
Captain Cane will make his debut at TU's home opener at Chapman Stadium against Sam Houston State Saturday evening. The first 2,000 kids to come to the game will get a coloring book about the new mascot.
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