Thursday, May 05, 2005


I didn’t do my planned end-of-season update. I didn’t weigh in on Dameon Mason’s transfer from Marquette. I’ve given no attention to the end of the UWM coaching search. However, I have to weigh in on this one.

The Marquette Gold?

If not for the serious tone of voice last night when Marquette held a press conference to announce its new nickname, I would have thought it was some type of satire. Could there possibly be a worse idea for a name change than this? When faced with the difficult decision of whether to reinstate the name “Warriors” or stick with the current Golden Eagle mascot, Marquette managed to make a decision that was far worse than either of its obvious alternatives. The morning radio guys that I listen to likened it to being asked to choose “A” or “B” on a test and writing down “K.” I’m still not sure if we’re dealing with a color or a metal here, but either way, the new nickname lacks the excitement of prior incarnations.

Now admittedly, though I cheer for all of the teams from my state, I probably cheer the least for Marquette and my views regarding Marquette have a mildly negative bias. After all, I graduated from UW-Madison, and Marquette was one of my school’s biggest rivals. You can’t love your rival, particularly when you have friends who are fans of that rival and love to talk trash. Still, a part of me remains a fan of Marquette from my childhood, when they were my favorite team. And that small part of me hurts from yesterday’s decision. The Badger fan in me can’t even make fun of this, because it’s just too sad. It would be like making fun of your neighbor who you don't like when their pet dies.

In the day since the decision was announced, I’ve met only one person who likes the new nickname. Frankly, that’s one more than I thought I would meet. One of my first thoughts when the name was announced was that this was a marketing decision on par with that of Coca-Cola’s introduction of New Coke. However, upon reflection, I think New Coke was a better concept. Coca-Cola at least conducted tests that made it seem that New Coke would work. Marquette was completely oblivious to the fact that this would cause public outcry, something just about anyone else in the city could have told you.

And to add to the ridiculousness of everything, there were so many other ways this controversy could have been handled. There were the obvious choices—stick with Golden Eagles, or switch back to Warriors. Marquette could have easily switched to its prior official nickname, the Hilltoppers, or its old unofficial nickname, the Golden Avalanche. The options were there, but Marquette went with the dullest, most ridiculous idea of all, “The Gold.” Furthermore, no one seems sure of how this new idea came about.

So I’ll be interested to see where things go from here. Yesterday night I predicted that due to public outcry, “Gold” would not last as the nickname through next Friday. I have my doubts about my initial prediction, but I’ll stick with it for now. If it’s the case, you can bet that I’m going to make sure that I have a Marquette Gold t-shirt to go right next to my XFL t-shirt, in the “short-lived sports entities” section of my drawer. More likely, though, I’ll get to chuckle at bitter alumni who refuse to wear gold to games next year. After all, the decision might be a dumb one, but given my lack of any affiliation with the university, it’s not really my fight.

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