(Press Release) Victor E. Bulldog, Fresno State’s four-legged mascot since 2006, has passed away after succumbing to his battle with cancer late Friday afternoon.
Victor E., who was an eight-year male English Bulldog known previously as Norman, roamed the sidelines and courtside for six seasons after beating out over 90 contestants in a competition for the job as the ultimate Bulldog ambassador.
"From the first day Victor E. became our mascot, he won the hearts of all,” Fresno State's Senior Associate Athletics Director Paul Ladwig said. “There was never a day he did not come to an event and take over and represent Fresno State with class and true Bulldog flavor. His parents Debbie and Dana have been tremendous as well. Victor will be deeply missed.”
While some dogs shied away from the spotlight, Norman soaked it up and transformed immediately into his destined role as Victor E. As he maneuvered through the obstacles, performed on command and relished every minute with the cheerleaders and judges, his natural personality and love for people poured out and won over everyone in attendance.
"I think that Norman is a perfect representation of the Bulldog breed," the late Fresno State alumna and Victor E.’s original owner Debbye Scott said back in 2006. "He's very athletic-looking, and when I heard about the contest, I thought he would be a perfect mascot for the school.”
Scott, who was a Fresno State women’s tennis student-athlete from 1982-86, passed away in 2009 from pancreatic cancer.
"Having Norman as the live mascot just blew her mind and she was so proud," Scott's partner Dana Villines said.
According to Villines, one of Scott's proudest moments came when she was invited to ride on the fire truck with Victor E. and the 2008 National Champion Fresno State baseball team during the celebratory parade. With his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging, Victor E. ate it up as the whole Central Valley came out in support of the Diamond 'Dogs.
Fresno State also gave Victor E. a chance to star in a number of promotions where he's been seen eating ice cream, smelling wine barrels, posing with dog biscuit creators and numerous other endeavors.
A search for Victor E. Bulldog II will begin in the coming days as Fresno State hopes to have a new four-legged mascot ready to debut on Sept. 1 when the ’Dogs open the 2012 football season against Weber State. Details of the search will be released next week.
PetER, who has partnered with Fresno State Athletics as the primary care provider and sponsor for Victor E. Bulldog since 2006, will continue in the same capacity for Victor E. Bulldog II.
Fans are asked to share their fondest Victor E. Bulldog memory on the “Fresno State Athletics” Facebook page and can tweet @FSAthletics photos of themselves with Victor E. Bulldog. Selected photos and comments will be incorporated at the Sept. 1st home football opener.