Sparty named Best Mascot by ESPN

Posted at 12:57 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 12:57:20-04

ESPN voted on the best school mascots for each Power 5 Conference for 2016 and it's no surprise that Sparty was voted number one for the Big Ten. 

ESPN Big Ten football reporter Jesse Temple wrote, "Sparty is 7 feet tall, yet even his rippling muscles and warrior garb can't mask his cartoon-like cuteness. 

"Oddly enough, ESPN had a hand in helping Sparty become nationally recognized in the mid-1990s, when the mascot was featured carrying around Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug for a parody "This Is SportsCenter" commercial.

"Given that Michigan State has one of the most successful football and men's basketball team combinations in the country, Sparty should remain a national fixture for years to come."

Other best mascot's for the remaining conferences included Syracuse's Otto the Orange, West Virginia's Mountaineer, Stanford's unofficial mascot -the Stanford Tree, and Louisiana State's Mike the Tiger. 

Sparty was born in 1955 to the brothers of Theta XI at Michigan State University according to the Association of Future Alumni. Fraternity brothers Donald Pais, Kenneth Roberts, and Don Bauer first created the six-foot tall, 60-pound mascot head using papier-mâché. 

The mascot was first worn by fraternity brother Bill Clithero at Jenison Field House during a pep rally for the MSU vs. Notre Dame football game. 

MSU's student government began supervising the Sparty head in 1960. He was then redesigned in 1989 to the soft and fierce mascot we see today. This new costume design was showcased on September 16th, 1989 at Spartan Stadium. 

To read more about Sparty's history, visit the MSU Association of Future Alumni.

Congratulations to Sparty for being the best mascot in the Big Ten Conference!