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A History of Dogs at Georgetown

Jack History

March 30, 2012 – Dogs began to be associated with Georgetown athletics around the turn of the century.

The first was an enormous canine who decided to adopt the prep division football team. But the dog was banished to Saint Thomas Manor in Maryland for biting halfbacks.

Next was Richmond Jack, a purebred Russian wolfhound born May 10, 1906. Though Richmond Jack's pedigree remains in the archives, his job description is not known.

Then in 1911, an otherwise unknown dog was called forth to meet the Virginia mascot (a pig) before the annual football game. The mascot led the Blue and Gray to victory, 9-0. The otherwise unknown mascot is said to have numbered at least a few English bulldogs among his ancestors.

Stubby, a Boston bull terrier came to Georgetown after World War I and served as mascot to the football team. Between the halves, Stubby would nudge a football around the field, much to the delight of the crowd.

Stubby was followed by a succession of Boston bull terriers. The first and most famous, also named Hoya, a dog who became a sidekick of the prefect of discipline and moderator of athletics.

Spectators apparently cheered as loudly for Hoya the dog as they did for the team. It was at this time that the newspapers began to refer to the team as the Hoyas, and some say it is possible that the team was named for the dog who was in turn named for the traditional cheer.

The line of succession was interrupted by World War II, after which the mascot's mantle passed to a Great Dane named Butch, originally the mascot of a group in the Army Training Program at Georgetown.

In 1947, Butch suffered one of the occupational hazards of collegiate mascots – he was kidnapped by a group of young "scholars" from Fordham but rescued by Georgetown students, including Neil McShane (B'50), Richard Kelley (B'50), Tom McHugh (B'50) and William Blatty (C'50), who wrote The Exorcist.

After Butch's retirement, the mascot's title returned to the Boston bull terrier, though this time in the guise of a person in a dog costume.

A student committee set out to restore the tradition of a live mascot in 1962. After reviewing available documents, the group decided that a bulldog would best exemplify the tenacious qualities of Georgetown’s team.

A bulldog named "Jack" served faithfully for four eventful years. He too suffered the indignity of a kidnapping, this time at the hands of ruffians from Holy Cross. Jack retired in 1967 and was replaced by Jack II, a younger and more vigorous bulldog.

A version of this story by former archivist Jon Reynolds (C'65), who passed away in 2000, ran in a 1983  issue of Georgetown Magazine.

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