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The story behind Providence College’s terrifying mascot.

As an undergrad at Providence College in the late ’90s, I thought the creepiest thing to come out of the Ocean State capital was Mayor Buddy Cianci’s toupee. Then again, we’d yet to see Friar Dom, the ghoulish mascot of PC with his gaping mouth and soulless eyes, who’s now sowing nightmares for a generation...
Time: 16:19     Date: 13.03.2018
Last US Sport News: The story behind Providence College’s terrifying mascot. NY Post 24 - US News

Then again, we’d yet to see Friar Dom, the ghoulish mascot of PC with his gaping mouth and soulless eyes, who’s now sowing nightmares for a generation of young hoops fans as he dances around Providence’s Dunkin Donuts Center. On Friday he’ll bring his particular brand of fright national when PC takes on Texas A&M in the NCAA tournament.

As the college’s Web site tells us, the ghastly Friar arrived in 2002 — two years after I left town. He replaced the only mascot I knew: the live Dalmatian, Friar Boy V, who chilled courtside at basketball games with his ordained handler — more on the dog later.

Friar Dom, who wears the traditional cowl of the Dominican brothers, was given a few aesthetic tweaks over the years until he eventually became the frightening, gaunt spectacle he is today.

Why would anyone make a devout Dominican Friar look like the bad man in “Poltergeist II”? What if I told you that it’s the same Canadian company (Sugar’s Mascot Costumes of Toronto) that made the adorable Snuggles, the fabric-softener bear? (True story.)

And every March, as the college hoops orgy plays out, more and more folks on social media share my discomfort. But this year, Friar Dom’s dubious popularity seems to have crescendoed.

Deadspin wrote a meditation on Monday titled “Look into the Face of March Madness’ Cruelest Mascot.” And Barstool Sports personality Dan “Big Cat” Katz devoted a chunk of his “Pardon My Take” podcast last week to the mascot, whom he said looked like a “nun with AIDS.”

Just plug “Providence mascot” into Twitter and a deluge of chilling GIFs of Friar Dom pop up alongside such sentiments as “It’s that time of year where I remember the horrific Providence mascot exists.”

Just ask Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who, during a good-natured Twitter exchange of “your mother” jokes last week with comedian Anders Holm, delivered the death blow with “Your mom is the Providence mascot.”

It’s followed me in real life, too. As PC and Villanova battled for the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, I sat next to a pleasantly inebriated middle-aged Villanova grad who leaned in close and whispered, “Hey, your mascot creeps me the f–k out.”

Join the club, dude.

It wasn’t always like this. For 30 years, from 1963 to 1993, the school had another costumed mascot, but that friar was a jovial, corpulent version who could’ve been Bob’s Big Boy’s dad if he hadn’t taken a vow of chastity.

Then there’s Friar Dom’s cuter colleague — someone wearing a plush Dalmatian suit — who sits behind the cheerleaders like a sad wallflower.

Conspiracy theories abound. On their “Pardon My Take” podcast, Big Cat and PFT Commenter said Providence fans told them the college added the dog because the Friar was scaring the kids.

This is a fantastic story but sadly not true. Dalmatians were the school’s first mascot, beginning in 1935, as the Dominican order was always closely associated with the hounds.

The first dog was named “Friar of What-Ho” and died two years later. His successor was named Friar Boy. As each Dalmatian died, he or she would be replaced and carry on the Friar Boy name followed by a Roman numeral, as if they were part of the “Rocky” franchise.

That ended with the death of Friar Boy V in 2001. Soon after, the Friar Dom haunting commenced.

Despite his doggy sidekick, the ghoulish figure is still the star of the show. The institution proudly calls him the “true face” of Providence College, boasting that he’s one that “the whole nation can recognize, devoted to his school and his athletic teams.”

Call me crazy, but I’d rather have the face of my alma mater be alumni NBA analyst Doris Burke or John O’Hurley, aka J. Peterman of “Seinfeld.”

Then again, I’m about 17 years late on my alumni donations, so I guess I have as much clout as the late Friar Boy IV on this one.

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