In an effort to increase support for CSUN mascot Matty the Matador, the Athletics Department will expand the mascot’s activity to appear at random places on campus.
“Before it wasn’t a big thing, Matty being on campus,” said Marc Henderson, game management coordinator for Intercollegiate Athletics, who was also Matty the Matador in 2004-05. “Now, we want to make him more permanent and bigger on campus.”
Since the Athletics Department plans to make Matty more visible on campus and bring him to at least one of CSUN’s upcoming athletic tournaments, Henderson said athletic organizers are looking for two more volunteers to act as Matty.
“You can expect him in public anywhere,” Henderson said.
Henderson said scheduling time for Matty’s appearances on campus and at sporting events is difficult since only one student currently volunteers to be Matty.
Henderson said Matty appeared at the grand opening of the parking structure on Prairie Street and Etiwanda Avenue earlier this semester, and the mascot also appeared at a Pepsi training day at the Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills last month, where Matty gave high-fives to all the employees. Pepsi is a sponsor of CSUN athletic teams.
In the future, Henderson said Matty might be seen around campus in the fourth floor in the Oviatt Library or the basement of one of the science buildings. He might also be seen handing out athletics t-shirts to students.
“Look at all (these) other schools,” Henderson said. “Students really love their mascots. UCLA, everybody loves Bruins. USC, everybody loves Cocky. Northridge, everybody just loves Matty. That’s where our goal is right now.”
Students selected CSUN’s matador mascot in March 1958 when the school was still San Fernando Valley State College, not yet renamed to CSUN.
John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson, said when the school was first initiated as a new campus, students had to decide what color and team name would best represent the school.
“There were a lot of discussions about what the colors and the mascot the campus would have,” Chandler said. “Students, at that time, submitted very many different ideas.”
According to James Sefton, a history professor who wrote an article about the history of CSUN’s football team and its school colors and team name, there were 158 nominees and ideas for possible school nicknames. He said the matador was chosen from five finalists: the Apollos, Falcons, Matadors, Rancheros, and Titans.
After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, there was a discussion about possibly changing the school team name, Sefton said.
He said there was a question of whether the campus wanted to change the nickname of the mascot from Matador to Quakes.
According to Sefton, the students voted to keep the Matadors mascot name by a 1,334 to 392 vote in spring 1994.
Henderson volunteered to be Matty the Matador for 2004-05 and said he enjoyed it.
“That gave me an opportunity to express how much I love (CSUN),” Henderson said. “A lot of people are probably embarrassed being (the) mascot, but I was honored to be mascot of the campus of 32,000 students. I was (the) only mascot.”
Henderson said Matty is not well known to students and that some students do not even know the mascot’s name.
“They call him the Matador, or Ole Ole Ole, or just weird Matadude,” Henderson said. “That’s why we want to do this this semester, to definitely make sure everybody here comes to CSUN knows the mascot is Matty the Matador.”
Aya Oikawa can be reached at email@example.com.