1-23-06 - Southeastern Oklahoma State University decided last Friday to change their mascot from the Savage to the Savage Storm. But with almost 80 years of history behind the name, SOSU is now tasked with changing nicknames while preserving their tradition.
But the question yet to be answered is how much will be new and how much will be tradition. Bookstores are down to the last bit of Savage merchandise that will soon be collectors’ items, and the printed name Savage will slowly start to disappear.
Dr. Jeff Hale, the athletic director, said, “Already taken it off jerseys, maybe one program that still has it.”
The Savage Storm won't take flight until May. That gives Southeastern plenty of time to change where the word Savage appears, but the most prominent is the one that they don't even own, and the one the entire city of Durant can see.
The water tower that overlooks downtown still bears the name “Savages,” but this is one change that is up to the city. However, the Savages will always have a place on Southeastern's campus as they have had since the late 1920's.
A rich tradition that will mean pieces of history like Dennis Rodman's retired number 10 jersey will remain.
“You can't deny nickname. It's been around 20 years. We are Savage Storm, but you can't erase 80 years of Savages.”
But there are still plenty of battles to be fought between future, like the Fight Song and the Tomahawk Chop.
“The Fight Song clearly makes reference to Red Chief's land and the loyal Savage band. It will be up to the same students and alumni that chose Savage Storm to say if the song changes like the name.”
“If you look at our song I guess you could make case that word Savage applies without reference to Native Americans.”
They have until May 15 to decide. SOSU was one of 18 universities the NCAA deemed to have inappropriate Native American nicknames. Three of those universities are appealing.