University News

Col. Rock to Make Debut May 15

May 11, 2010


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Courtesy of WIU Athletics

MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University will officially welcome a new member to the Leatherneck family this weekend. The Athletics Department and University announced that prior to the baseball doubleheader on Saturday (May 15) against Southern Utah, Colonel Rock III will be introduced. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium and the public is invited to attend.

Colonel Rock III is a 10-week-old English bulldog from the Siess Ranch in Seneca, Kansas. Through the efforts of George Visoky working with Richard and Beth Siess of the Siess Ranch, Colonel Rock will be donated to the Athletics Department. Joining "Rocky" as the Athletics Department mascot, Colonel Rock will attend sporting and university events.

The arrival of Colonel Rock III ends Western Illinois' 37-year hiatus of a live bulldog mascot.

Western Illinois' first mascot made its debut Oct. 10, 1959 at the Homecoming football game. One day earlier, the English bulldog, which was purchased by the Student Government Association at the suggestion of Student Personnel Services Dean John Henderson, was officially named "Colonel Rock" at the Homecoming bonfire. The English bulldog, which is the traditional mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps, was cared for by the John Storey family in Macomb.

In the late 1960s, Capt. Dale A. Luster (a recruiter from the Marine Corps League of Chicago) was instrumental in assisting the Corps' purchase of Colonel Rock II, a.k.a. "Rocky." Two years later, on Sept. 26, Luster was killed in action over North Vietnam. Rocky retired in 1973 and he was replaced with a costumed version.

Dr. Karen Blakeley of All Pets Veterinary Clinic will donate health care for Colonel Rock III. WIU's School of Agriculture Director Bill Bailey and the School of Agriculture are donating Colonel Rock's food, and Joe Roselieb, director of University Housing and Dining Residential Facilities, volunteered to house and care for the newest Leatherneck.

According to Associate Athletics Director Dwaine Roche, several people have helped make Colonel Rock's arrival a possibility.

"We are all excited about having a live mascot on campus again. After talking with others, there's a lot of excitement for the arrival of Colonel Rock. We know that Colonel Rock III will bring tremendous enthusiasm to all University events, but more importantly help renew the Leatherneck tradition. A tremendous debt of gratitude goes to George Visoky, Siess Ranch, All Pets Veterinary Clinic, WIU School of Agriculture and Joe Roselieb," said Roche. "Without their generous support and contributions, this special gift to the University would not have been possible."

Contact: Patrick Osterman/Director of Athletic Media Services (309/298-1133)

Posted By: WIU Athletics (SID@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations