CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The retired mascot of The Citadel, Boo IX, has died Wednesday afternoon, according to a release from the school. He was 12 years old.
Mike Groshon, assistant athletics director for facilities and caretaker of the bulldogs, said Boo IX had been suffering from health problems over the past few months. Boo IX lost his co-mascot, Gen. Thomas Curtis Metsker, in February.
The two lived together most of their adult lives with Groshon on campus, serving as mentors for the newer bulldog mascots who took their places in the fall of 2013 when they officially retired.
"Boo IX was never bothered by anything. He patiently let mobs of children and adults alike pet him and fuss over him," Groshon said. "Boo IX was known for following the ball and trying to get it at football games. He wanted to be out on the field."
The duo had served as the college's mascots from 2003 until 2013.
The Citadel's current mascots, Gen. Robert P. Carson (G2) and Boo X, are in good health and are taking a break while the cadets are away for winter furlough, Groshon said.
The Citadel began using bulldogs that belonged to alumni as the mascots starting as far back as 1928.
But it wasn't until the Class of 2003 created the mascot program that the college actually owned and cared for its mascots full time. Private funds and donations provide sole support for the mascot program and cadets volunteer to work on the mascot detail.
Together, Boo IX and G2 helped raise more than $23,000 for charities such as the ASPCA and a bulldog rescue organization by participating in athletic events, parades, and community service events.
Boo IX and the mascots named Boo before him were named after about Lt. Col. Thomas "The Boo" Courvoisier, who was the Commandant of Cadets at The Citadel in the 1960s and the subject of a book titled The Boo. The book, composed of a collection of letters and short stories, was written by Citadel graduate Pat Conroy after he graduated in 1967.