Who is the ‘real’ Spirit the Seawolf mascot?

seawolfPerhaps it’s his alluring pine green complexion or his brawny body and broad shoulders. Or maybe it’s his stylish green and gold jersey or his walloping white fangs.

Whatever it may be, Spirit the Seawolf seems to have that animal magnetism crowds go wild for.

Who is Spirit’s real identity, if any?

Just like Superman or Santa Claus, that identity is carefully guarded. According to Tim McDiffett, interim director for the UAA Athletics Department, Spirit, as fans see him, is the real thing. The Athletics Department will not provide any sort of details of an identity detached from the image.

“We prefer — as most schools do throughout the country — not to reveal the identity of those that serve as our Spirit The Seawolf mascot,” said Tim McDiffett, interim director of the Athletics Department.

For those who are dying to know little details like, “What if you have to go to the bathroom?” or, “Do you ever get overheated?” think again. Spirit doesn’t talk. He is not allowed.

Tricia Farler, head coach of the UAA co-ed cheerleading squad, said she could divulge some of Spirit’s qualities or quirks but would not offer more than that.

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Farler is among other administrators who would not break that code of silence when it came to Spirit.

She said a student of the co-ed cheerleading squad was fired because the student publicly divulged too many details about Spirit to a news writer.

McDiffett said he does not recall that specific situation. However the department does ask those that serve as the mascot to remain anonymous.

“I’m very surprised. It doesn’t make much sense to me to keep something as trivial as that a secret,” said Sophie O’Connell, a student taking general education courses.

O’Connell shares the same sentiments as other students and fans.

While some would like to find out who the guy behind the mask is, there are many who would prefer the mystery.

“It would take away from the mystique,” McDiffett said. “Children know him as Spirit, so he is always known as Spirit publicly.”

As for the creature itself, Spirit the Seawolf comes from the myth of “Gonakadet,” also known as “Wasgo the Seawolf” in Tlingit and other Alaska Native cultures.

To find out more about Spirit and his history as UAA’s beloved mascot, see The Northern Light’s story “What is a Seawolf?”