Team spirit timeline
Gainesville State College
1964: Gainesville Junior College founded. The mascot was the Lakers and the colors were blue, gold and white.
Mid-1980s: Intercollegiate athletics were eliminated. Nautical themes from the Lakers days were still used, though.
1997: An anchor logo and the nautical colors were retired.
Mid-2000s: A joke about the many Canada geese on campus turned into a mascot, Laker T. Goose.
North Georgia College & State University
1873: North Georgia Agricultural College founded. Men’s athletic teams in the early days were known as the Cadets.
1971: Women’s intercollegiate basketball began, with the team called the Gold Diggers.
1972: The student body adopted a Saint Bernard dog as the mascot as the intercollegiate athletics program grew. The students chose the Saints nickname.
Today: The university competes in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference. The colors are blue and white.
Whether they become the Rattlesnakes, Blue Jays, Avengers or any of a host of other possible mascots, those involved in choosing the face of the University of North Georgia are hoping for one thing — unity.
“This is a move to help unify our two institutions into one,” said Sloan Jones, spokeswoman for Gainesville State College. “And we see this as a real rallying point for our students to get behind and get excited about a new mascot.”
The school, set to form in January from the consolidation of Gainesville State and North Georgia College & State University, has put out a list of possibilities that includes many fearsome animals, storm references and long-ago warriors.
A work group of about 12 people, including students, faculty and staff from each institution, is hoping to get feedback through Tuesday using an online survey with the list of suggested mascots. A write-in option is also available.
That group will then give a list of 10-15 recommendations to the Consolidation Implementation Committee. That committee then will choose about three possibilities to hand off to Bonita Jacobs. Jacobs, who will lead the new institution, will make the final decision, keeping in mind how the new mascot would be implemented.
That’s something some of the committee members are thinking about, too.
Lindsay Reeves, athletic director at North Georgia and a member of the work group, said she is hoping for an image that will look good in person on the sidelines of a game and also display well on the school’s website.
Leaders are ideally looking for something indigenous to the region, too.
“We researched things that are local to our area,” said Kate Maine, spokeswoman for North Georgia. “... So a lot of the suggestions are based on animals or items that are representative of this area or could be found in this area. And then others are more indicative of team spirit-type names that would represent the competitiveness of our athletic program.”
Officials also have to be sure to pick something not already in use by other area colleges or other NCAA Division II teams, especially those within the Peach Belt Conference.
“I also want it to be, from an athletic point of view, somewhat fierce,” Reeves said. “... you want something that has prestige and competitiveness involved in it.”
The work group will meet Sept. 5 to look over the results and make some decisions. Reeves said those at North Georgia seem to be leaning away from some options, but there aren’t any mascots jumping out as the most popular yet. The university plans to reveal the mascot in January and would begin using it next fall.
“It’s really important to me that the student body across all campuses embraces this and everybody’s behind it, because that will just enhance the whole spirit and connectivity and community between all of us,” Reeves said. “So that’s the most important thing to me.”