We know him well. We see him around campus, cheering at sports games, and posing with President Thayne McCulloh and students at school events. Spike, Gonzaga’s beloved mascot, fills the hearts of Zags with his enthusiasm and passion for all things Gonzaga. But what many people might not know is the fact that Spike has another passion….for fashion. With an outfit for every (athletic) occasion, I figured it was only fitting that the last fashion spotlight post of the semester be about everyone’s favorite Zag. Spike and his representative Morgan Turturici were kind enough to sit down with me and explain the ins and outs of our beloved bulldog’s closet. Since Spike was busy running in and out of his locker room showing me all of his outfits and uniforms, Ms. Turturici spoke on his behalf.
LB: How many outfits does spike have?
MT: So Spike has 2 full white basketball jersey uniforms, 1 black one, 1 baseball uniform, and 1 Santa suit. The Santa suit he has technically belongs to Hemmingson, so we borrow it as needed.
LB: How often does Spike get new outfits?
MT: Basically when he can get one, he gets one. We have to order his uniforms with the basketball team and then after that, we take them and get them personalized with “Spike” and put his number on the back.
LB: Are there certain elements that Spike always wears?
MT: He always is in something Gonzaga. Usually he is in the white home basketball jersey, he’s rarely in the black jersey. And he’s always going to be seen wearing a shirt and pants.
LB: What is Spike’s favorite outfit?
MT: I don’t think he has one…I think they’re all equally liked.
LB: Can you give me the rundown on what Spike wears and when he wears it?
MT: So for volleyball he always wears his white basketball uniform. And that is the same for most basketball games—so again he’ll be in the white uniform. For soccer, he’ll be in the white basketball uniform as well. For baseball he always wears the baseball uniform. If it gets too wet or rainy outside, Spike doesn’t have any rain gear and we desperately want avoid that dreaded wet dog smell… so Spike doesn’t come out when its really wet.
LB: Does Spike have his own locker/dressing room?
MT: Yes, Spike has his own changing room. It’s a spare locker room. Spike having a separate locker room is necessary for privacy and secrecy—even the players don’t know who Spike is.
LB: Does Spike do his own laundry?
MT: No, I do his laundry. Spike’s fur has to get cleaned too so I try to clean him once week. Spike gets cleaned in the industrial washing machines that the teams uniforms get cleaned in and he has to “shake” (air) dry.
LB: How are Spikes chosen?
MT: We have auditions in the spring so everyone is welcome— male and female— no height requirements or anything and you can come, put the suit on and we’ll put you through some scenarios and let you know what we think! We look for energy because, especially at basketball games and during the zombie nation and intro, Spike has to move around a lot and interacts with a lot of people. We also look or their ability to emote without words and for a person’s ability to be comfortable in the suit. It can get really hot in there especially for soccer in August and September and Spike needs to be running around, so we need someone who can handle the physical pressure.
LB: Who chooses Spikes?
MT: Usually the current mascot coordinator as well as the future mascot coordinator, as well as the marketing director and assistant marketing director for GU athletics. So basically it’s two GU students and two administrators.
LB: How many hours a week does Spike spend cheering on the Zags?
MT: For basketball games they need to be milling around the concourse about an hour and forty-five minutes before the game starts and then they are there for the whole game— so basketball alone is close to 4 hours per game. About 2 hours for volleyball games, and 2 hours for soccer and baseball.
LB: How many Spike’s are there?
MT: This year there are 5. Last year there were 4. It seems like the more we have, the better it goes. Since there are so many games and community events that Spike has to go to we like having multiple Spikes available to help. The Spokane community can submit requests for Spike to appear at events, and we accept a lot of those requests. It just seems like the more Spikes we have the more likely it is that we will be able to have Spike appear more.
LB: How long does a “Spike” hold the position being Spike?
MT: As long as you don’t for some reason lose the position or aren’t asked back– the position is yours until graduating!LB: What is something that people probably don’t know about Spike?
MT: Spike is a dog with thumbs… so there is that. Spike warms up with the cheerleaders, I bet many people don’t know that. The pants that come for his uniforms are the same as the team so we have to cut tail holes for him!
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Spike, Morgan Turturici and the Gonzaga Athletic Department for allowing me this interview with one of GU’s biggest stars. Good luck with finals and go Zags!