What does the fox mean?

“It’s a great day to be a red fox!” reads the headline of the Go Red Foxes homepage. “Go Red Foxes!” Shooter Fox, the college’s official mascot, encourages fans to chant at sporting events. And it is a fox that’s printed on the majority of Marist apparel worn proudly by students, faculty, staff and alumni. And since October of 2013 the Marist Community knows what the Fox says- “ Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding“ and sometimes “Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!” –but, what does the Fox mean?

Still from Comedy Duo Ylvis and their song “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Still from Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) music video. Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post.

The first time the Fox was used in affiliation with Marist was within the Marist Coat Of Arms. According to Google a Coat of Arms is “an emblem that is a distinctive heraldic bearings or shield of a person, family, corporation, or country.” The Marist Coat of Arms is a shield and on either side of the shield is a Red Fox. Marist’s initial decision to use the Red Fox or Reynard to represent the college was because the red fox is indigenous to the Hudson Valley and also is known for its keen intelligence and ingenuity. Yet the fox is not the only animal indigenous to the Hudson Valley and anyone who has been to Marist is aware that they are more likely to see a groundhog, not a fox.

In the left quadrant of the shield appears the traditional Marist bell, originally used to regulate the lives of the brothers. The Indian seen in the right-hand quadrant of the shield is taken from the seal of the town of Poughkeepsie (from the Mohegan word 'apo-keep-sinck', a safe, pleasant harbor). The lower half represents the liberal arts. The nucleus of the atom stands for the sciences, while the open book and crossed quills represents the humanities. Atop the shield is the official Marist Brothers emblem. At the bottom is a scroll with the Latin words 'Cum Optimis Litigare', which translated, means 'To strive with the best.' Picture and Description Courtesy of James A. Cannavino Library.

In the left quadrant of the shield appears the traditional Marist bell, originally used to regulate the lives of the brothers. The Indian seen in the right-hand quadrant of the shield is taken from the seal of the town of Poughkeepsie (from the Mohegan word ‘apo-keep-sinck’, a safe, pleasant harbor). The lower half represents the liberal arts. The nucleus of the atom stands for the sciences, while the open book and crossed quills represents the humanities. Atop the shield is the official Marist Brothers emblem. At the bottom is a scroll with the Latin words ‘Cum Optimis Litigare’, which translated, means ‘To strive with the best.’ Picture and Description Courtesy of James A. Cannavino Library.

It was in 1961 that Athletic Director Brother William Murphy decided to organize a varsity basketball team to play scheduled games against other schools. Murphy thought a nickname and logo would be appropriate and it was this decision that resulted in the Marist College basketball team and the adoption of ‘Red Foxes’ as the college’s official nickname and mascot.

Although the basketball team and official nickname “Red Foxes” was established in 1961, it was not until 1979 that Shooter Fox was given his name and brought to life. Shooter’s inventor was a local high school student named Jim Norman. Norman got the idea that a mascot was needed at Marist sporting events and took his idea to former athletics director and men’s basketball coach Ron Petro. Petro liked the idea and gave Norman the job of Shooter. Norman became the first person to wear the Red Fox costume and served as the school’s mascot for six years. In Shooter’s early days, his job was to help spark the rivalry between Marist and Siena, whose mascot was and still is Bernie “Saint” Bernard. The rivalry between Marist and Siena College still exists today.

The evolution of Shooter Fox throughout the years. Photo courtesy of Marist Hoops Board.

The evolution of Shooter Fox throughout the years. Photo courtesy of Marist Hoops Board.

Shooter Fox has been a fixture at Marist sporting events and has been welcoming students, faculty, fans and alumni to campus for three decades and continues to do so today. So, the next time you see the Red Fox, you will now know how and why it was chosen.

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