ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University has introduced a new mascot: Brooks the Bison, named after the school's first student.
President Richard "Biff" Williams revealed Brooks alongside a new school identity, the Trailblazers, on Monday. It's part of Dixie State's ongoing effort to distance itself from the Southern Confederacy imagery of its former Rebels mascot.
The Dixie name dates back to 1916 and was a reference to the region's cotton growing, but critics have taken aim at the identity. Students and alumni were displeased, however, with a 2009 attempt to rebrand the school's athletics "Red Storm," complete with a bull mascot.
Williams says Dixie State worked hard this time to find an authentic symbol of the school's history. The two other finalists were Sun Warriors and Raptors.
The university has even acquired a real-life bison, although it is still figuring out what to do with the massive animal.
The change added to an interesting day for the school's softball team. Dixie State started a doubleheader with California Baptist as the Red Storm, but finished as the Trailblazers, as the new identity was announced during the bottom of the third inning of the second game.