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Fans invited to vote on new look for Marshall mascot

By Charles Young

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's mascot, Marco the Buffalo, is getting a makeover.

Through Facebook, the university is asking fans, alumni, students and faculty to submit their votes on one of three choices for the design of the anthropomorphic American Bison's costume.

Marshall spokeswoman Tiffany Bajus said Dale Morton Studios in Huntington designed Marco's current incarnation in 2008.

But after five years of games and promotional events the costume is due for a replacement.

"It has to be replaced and we're just kind of asking what the fans think," she said. "We're working on keeping up with normal wear and tear and we want everyone's input."

Voters have the option of keeping Marco's appearance as is, returning to a previous design or going with a third design choice that merges elements of the current and previous versions.

Voting is going on now through midnight Aug. 10.

The current costume features the buffalo wearing a Marshall football jersey, white pants and black athletic shoes. The face has large realistic eyes and a prominent nose.

The previous costume featured a friendlier, more cartoon-like face with a goatee and had furry legs and hoofed feet.

The hybrid design would keep Marco's current face on the body of the older design.

The design that receives the most votes will be announced on Marshall University's Facebook page Aug. 12.

After voting is over, a winner will be randomly selected from the voters to receive a Marshall prize package.

"Each person who votes is entered to win in this contest, but you can only vote once" Bajus said. "By sharing a link or posting about it, you're entered again, so everyone has two chances to win." 

The winner will receive four tickets to the Aug. 31 football game against Miami University of Ohio; four Marshall University hooded sweatshirts, a game day tailgate spot and a tailgate snack platter. The winner will be contacted via email.

The university hopes to debut the new costume at this year's homecoming game on Oct. 5.

Marco's current version made its debut in 2008. Bajus said that although the design was generally well received, not everyone was happy with the change.

"We had a lot of people who were just really big fans of the classic Marco and were bummed when we got of him," she said. "Now we want to see if we go back to the classic look or keep the newer one." 

Throughout the years, the Thundering Herd's mascot has had many different looks.

In the '30s, the buffalo stood on all fours and was made of paper mache. Then in 1954, Marco was introduced as a costumed student. In the late '60s and early '70s, Marshall used two mascots: Marco, and another real bison. In 1973, a female counterpart named Marsha was introduced, but later was retired after only a few years.

Marco's costume design evolved over the years from an unadorned buffalo to one wearing a full football uniform. 

To submit your vote on Marco's new look, visit www.facebook.com/marshallu.

Contact writer Charles Young at charles.young@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796


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