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April 7, 2006

'Warhawks' Name Full of Potential

As I listened to the reading of the ballots, "Warhawks, Warhawks, Warhawks...," I realized something for the first time. Warhawks is not a good name, it is a great name.

I love the sound of it and I love what it represents. The mascot committee was charged with choosing a new mascot that was unique, indigineous to our region, strong and something that fits with our university. I believe Warhawks is a name that encompasses all of those things.

There is no doubt that there will be those who complain and don't like the new mascot. Those people would have existed regardless of what was chosen. There will be those who think that we should have never gotten rid of Indians. I can assure them that no one on the committee wanted to see the Indian name go. It has been a great mascot, but unfortunately the time came for a change.

Then there will those who question the process. These are the same people who just "knew" that the university had already chosen "Bears" and that the whole process was a charade.

This process began several months ago and has required a lot of hard work from the members of the committee. It has been open to the news media from the first meeting and has involved enormous community input. There were open nominations on the Internet and then polling to see which mascots were everyone's favorites. It was the consensus of students, alumni, university supporters and the community that Warhawks was the best candidate.

Warhawks has vast possibilities as to how it will be depicted in the artwork. It has its roots in the Curtiss P-40 plane flown by Claire Chennault but is also a great bird of prey. I believe we will all be excited as we start to see the possible uses of our new mascot being unveiled in the upcoming months.

Now that we have this behind us, it is time to get down to what we are all supposed to be doing: supporting the student athletes that will be competing as our Warhawks. It was a great pleasure serving on this committee with the several student athletes and I want to encourage everyone to come out and get to know all of the student athletes and coaches that represent our university.

There is no doubt that they will make you proud to call yourself a Warhawk.

STUART KEYES, a sales manager for CenturyTel, earned his master's in history at ULM and served on the ULM Mascot Committee. He is president of the Indian Athletic Foundation.

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