Boone: DU mascot's biggest online backer, LetsGoDU, pulls the plug

Is it bye-bye for Boone? The once-official, now unofficial University of Denver mascot was all over the news at the end of May, when DU's lacrosse team made it to the semi-finals in Philadelphia and ESPN2 showed many closeups of the Disney-designed character adopted by the school in 1968, booted in 1998, then allowed back at games as an unofficial cheerleader in 2008. But the team lost, and now it looks like any efforts to revive Boone as a mascot are, too. Yesterday, LetsGoDU, the blog devoted to boosting DU and Boone, published its last entry.

Back in the '60s, a student in a buckskin suit played Boone at sporting events. After DU allowed Boone to reappear at sporting events five years ago, a supporter wearing a more sophisticated outfit played Boone -- and that costume got a lot of coverage during the lacrosse playoffs.

Ultimately, Boone backers collected 1,131 signatures in support of Boone -- but despite making every effort to resurrect Boone as the official university mascot, those efforts failed, LetsGoDU reports.

Here's the post that LetsGoDU founder Damien Goddard shared yesterday:

After eight years, 1.5 million visits, 5755 posts, 32,596 reader comments and countless laughs; LetsGoDU is ceasing operations today. LetsGoDU averaged 30 visits a day in 2005 to almost a thousand visits per day in recent years and its been a wonderful journey. We launched a mascot, built school spirit to unprecedented heights, covered many epic victories and more than a few heartbreaking DU losses. To those who supported DU through this Blog [du78 & many others] and helped PioNation fight the good fight, we say thank you. To the many DU students who shared our vision and supported school spirit and Boone, you helped change the culture at the University of Denver for the better. Like Boone, LetsGoDU is leaving on top.

In earlier posts, LetsGoDU had noted Boone's many appearances around Philadelpha before the game, then concluded that "Denver Boone's last game on Saturday [DU lost to Syracuse on May 25] was a success on all levels except for the final score of the lacrosse game."

Meanwhile, DU administrators are continuing with their campaign to come up with a new mascot, which the Undergraduate Student Government authorized in February. The process started with focus groups and other research work (which came in for criticism from Boone backers). According to Kevin Carroll, DU's chief marketing officer, the Mascot Steering Committee is still finishing up phase 2.5 of the project, which will be concluded next week. Here's the breakdown of the mascot-search project phases on the DU website:

PHASE 1, April 3-26: Exploratory Research and Concept Development PHASE 2, April 28-May 7: Concept Refinement PHASE 2.5, Mid-May to Mid-June: Imagery, Sketch and Story Refinement

As this process as developed we are recognizing the need to truly enrich the imagery and stories proposed more. Therefore further work will continue during this stage to bring on new artists, hold focused discussions of back stories, and determine the future of the Mascot Steering Committee.

PHASE 3, Mid-June: Quantitative Testing, Refinement and Recommendations PHASE 4, Fall quarter 2013: "Evolution of DU's mascot" event

Just don't expect Boone to make an appearance at the evolution event. Goddard reports that the Boone costume that made so many appearances at DU sporting events -- not to mention a Harlem Shake video stunt last February -- "has arrived in Houston, where it will be cleaned, repaired and stored."

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Denver Boone is dead! Long live Denver Boone!"

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