|Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
The wait is finally over. After going over half of its academic year and intercollegiate athletics season without a formal nickname and mascot, Dixie State College of Utah announced Monday night the adoption of "Red Storm" as the new identity and face of DSC and its NCAA Division II athletic programs. The announcement came during halftime of DSCís men's basketball game vs. Notre Dame de Namur, a game the Dixie Red Storm won, 59-51.
The formal announcement was made by DSC studentbody president and Naming Committee chair Brock Bybee. In addition to the nickname announcement, the largest crowd of the season, which was announced at 3,979, was treated to the debut of a new mascot, an athletic-looking black bull named "Ragin'
Red," complete with basketball uniform. "Ragin' Red" dazzled the crowd with stunts and high-fives and chest bumps with the majority of DSC's student-athlete contingent, which capped off the halftime festivities.
"The value of a positive new identity for Dixie State College cannot be underestimated," said DSC Athletic Director Dexter Irvin. "The athletic department is excited and ready to run with our new look. The value of this identity will grow as our institution expands our enrollment and degree offerings."
Irvin added he believes that DSC's new identity is a great representation of the area and the new mascot and nickname will give Dixie State College and its athletic programs positive leverage throughout the state, the country and the NCAA.
"This is a great mascot/nickname that the students, alumni, and fans can adopt and grow old with," Irvin said. "Our athletic department is now situated with a nickname and mascot that we can move forward with. Both in our [Great Northwest-football/Pacific West] conferences and the NCAA."
In 2007, the Dixie State College Board of Trustees voted to retire the use of the "Rebel" nickname and the "Confederate" identity, which was adopted in the 1950s. DSC put together a naming committee, headed by Bybee, to come up with a new school identity that reflected the pioneer heritage, traditions, values and work ethic of the region. The committee was made up of representatives from DSC's student government, athletic department, faculty, staff, and alumni.
DSC formally began its quest for a new identity last summer with the kick-off of the "Dixie Idol" campaign. During the initial nomination process, nearly 3,500 concept suggestions were recorded over a five-week period. From that pool of suggestions, a list of 20 concepts was compiled in order to begin the first round of voting, which took place in October. That initial voting period drew nearly 2,600 votes, and after dodging potential future licensing and copyright issues, the list was pared down to the top-10 concepts.
In November, a second round of voting took place to trim that list to the final three. However, DSC saw a significant dip in voter turnout the second time around. In addition, with growing concerns about future budgetary constraints not only at Dixie State College, but throughout the entire state, DSC President Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld and the naming committee felt that resources that were earmarked for the final stage of "Dixie Idol,"
complete with the purchase three separate mascot costumes, would be better spent elsewhere on campus.
"Our voting numbers fell 65 percent overall during that second round of voting, which was a red-flag of sorts, considering the time and resources put into marketing and promoting the process," said Steve Johnson, DSC Director of Public Relations and Marketing. "The committee felt the process had run its course."
Johnson added that President Nadauld and the committee held a lengthy discussion about the budgetary concerns regarding future marketing efforts of the final round. That coupled with the costs that would be incurred in buying three mascot costumes, two of which would be discarded after the competition, the committee decided to terminate plans for the final stage of "Dixie Idol."
The Committee identified the three finalists from the second round of voting, which included "Red Storm," "Red Devils," and "Red Hawks." After careful and thoughtful consideration, weighing all options, including the committee's initial task, all marketing aspects, and uniqueness to the region, along with the desire to move forward, the committee unanimously decided on the overall winner.
DSC's decision to move forward with the "Red Storm" nickname and new mascot will allow the College's men's and women's basketball teams to have an identity for the final six weeks of each squad's respective seasons, and will be used by all of DSC's four spring sports. In addition, it would allow coaches time to begin the process of having new uniforms created and have them ready to debut in 2009-10, along with scoreboard and other minor athletic facility adjustments. The decision will also allow for our new identity to be officially licensed and marketed so the process of merchandising can begin.
"Dixie State College will promote our new identity in a number of ways,"
Johnson said. "We will try to be as visible as we can be, not only on campus, but locally and regionally. This is an exciting time to rally around Dixie and the 'Red Storm.'"
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