by KACI ALVAREZ
Homecoming is closely approaching and school spirit is at its all time high. In honor of the two thousand and sixteen homecoming season, here is the story on how the beloved Izzy the Islander mascot came to be.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has not always been known as Islanders. In the beginning, the Island Campus was known as the University of Corpus Christi and soon after the official mascot became the tarpons.
According to the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi website, the tarpon continued to be the mascot for the school even during a name change to Corpus Christi State University and becoming a member of the Texas A&M University System.
It was not until the 1990’s when the tarpon mascot gave way to Tarpie the Tarpon. Tarpie would be the official school mascot until Oct. 13, 2004, when Izzy the Islander came into affect.
According to The Izzy Recharge Project, the university’s “search for a mascot that better captured the essence of the Islanders began” a year before Izzy was born.
There were several options for a new mascot that were originally named Mojo, before the decision was made to create Izzy the Islander.
Izzy originally wore a grass skirt, shell belt, and Texas A&M University t-shirt and carried a spear and shield. However, on Dec. 1, 2011, Izzy debuted as “leaner, cleaner and packed with Islander pride.”
The fully recharged Izzy the Islander has many new features that were added to increase school spirit, including the “Momentum” emblem, board shorts, and a smaller, more compact mask. Before deciding on the new and improved accessories a group of students, faculty and staff gathered together for a semester and provided input on how to enhance the mascot.
According to the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi website, the momentum emblem on Izzy’s mask serves as a constant reminder of where he comes from and is an inspiration to keep looking forward to the future.
The compact mask symbolizes that Izzy is the Islanders biggest fan, but does not have a big head about it.
The Izzy Recharged Project jokes about the old grass skirt Izzy used to wear by saying it was extremely itchy, but the real reason they transitioned into board shorts is so he is able to surf the waves as well as easily cheer on the Islander teams.
Izzy the Islanders mask changes as well for athletic games. It is called the “game face”, which features a blue and green design that engulfs his eyes so he can rally the fans and get his head in the game.
Izzy the Islander is a huge part of the Island Campus and the students chose A&M-Corpus. He attends every game and event and always tries to boost the school spirit.
To learn more about the fully recharged Izzy the Islander and all of his new features, visit http://www.tamucc.edu/marcom/izzyrecharge/.