As part of the university’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the search for the first UCCS mascot is on.
Stretch the Fighting Longneck was the UCCS spirit symbol (the only official mascot at the time was the Buffalo) from 1990 to 1997, according to Mary Rupp, archives librarian, Kraemer Family Library. But the Stretch costume, which bore a resemblance to Toys R’US mascot Geoffrey, has not been seen since the late 1990s when UCCS students voted to change athletic team names from Gold to Mountain Lion. The first Mountain Lion mascot was introduced in 2003.
“We’re hoping that someone knows where Stretch is stashed,” Jennifer Hane, director, Alumni Relations, said. “Though his time has passed, he is an important part of the university’s history.”
According to legend, Stretch and the Longneckers athletic moniker were the brainchild of former Chancellor Dwayne Nuzum who was fascinated by giraffes and was a frequent observer of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s prized herd. Nuzum served CU for 38 years as a professor of architecture before his 2005 death.
Hane asked UCCS alumni, as well as members of the Retired Faculty and Staff Association, for help in locating Stretch. She hopes someone knows something that will allow her to track him down “CSI”-style for a guest appearance at a December 50th anniversary event.
Is Stretch living the leisurely life of a giraffe on the Serengeti? Meet his demise at the bottom of Prospect Lake? Or was he simply relegated to the back of a closet and forgotten?
Those with information are encouraged to contact the Office of Alumni Relations, 255-3180.