Xavier University's men's basketball team will compete in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2018, when the team was a No. 1 seed.
This year, No. 3 seed Xavier (25-9) is playing No. 14 Kennesaw State (26-8) in the first round on Friday, March 17, in Greensboro, North Carolina. (12:40 p.m. on TruTV.)
If you're not a Xavier fan, you may not know much about the team's mascot, a musketeer. What exactly is a musketeer? And what is the team's other (odd) mascot, the Blue Blob? Here's a look.
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What is a musketeer?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a musketeer as "a soldier armed with a musket," or a heavy large-caliber muzzle-loading shoulder gun typically carried by infantry.
The musketeer soldier is often associated with Alexandre Dumas' 1844 novel "Les Trois Mousquetaires," which translates into English as "The Three Musketeers." The historical romance novel follows four fictional heroes who lived in France during the 17th and early 18th centuries under the rule of King Louis XIII and Louis XIV.
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The Xavier University website reports that D'Artagnan, one of the story's main characters, was based on a real person named Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, who served as a captain of the musketeers under King Louis XIV. The real and fictional d'Artagnans are the inspiration behind the Xavier University Musketeer mascot.
History of D'Artagnan the Musketeer at Xavier University
The musketeer first appeared at a Xavier University sporting event in October 1965. Despite its 58-year history, D'Artagnan (pronounced dar-TAN-yan) remains a mystery to many Greater Cincinnati residents. Here's a brief origin story of the beloved mascot.
Reverend Francis J. Finn, a Xavier Board of Trustees member, proposed D'Artagnan the Musketeer as Xavier's mascot in 1925. According to the university's website, Finn felt D'Artagnan represented Xavier's historical connection to France and embodied the school's "all for one, one for all" spirit.
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The mascot, however, would not make its debut until October 1965, nearly 40 years after Finn's proposal. Bill Peters, a 1968 Xavier graduate, was the first student to dress up as D'Artagnan. Peters was the mascot for a homecoming game against Villanova, in which the Musketeers defeated the Wildcats 35-0. His costume consisted of a white blouse with blue pleated sleeves, a brown vest, dark blue pantaloons, a blue cape, a fencing foil and fake brown boots.
The D'Artagnan costume has gone through several changes throughout the years. The current version of the musketeer mascot was released during the 2004-05 basketball season.
The university reports that up to four Xavier students now fulfill D'Artagnan's role.
What is Xavier University's Blue Blob?
D'Artagnan isn't the only mascot at Xavier.
The Blue Blob was created in 1985 as a kid-friendly alternative to the sometimes-scary main mascot. The costume features a muppet nose, hound eyes and, of course, blue fur.
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Sports Illustrated reports that the Blue Blob, which has appeared in two SportsCenter commercials, dazzles crowds with its unique acts, such as licking fans with its two-foot-long tongue or shoving objects down its mouth. (Not scary at all.)