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Looks Like a Log: S.F. State's Mascot Claws for Its Life 

Wednesday, Mar 5 2014

For cold-blooded creatures, every winter is a winter of discontent. But for S.F. State's Gator, these are especially bitter times.

Last month, SF State President Les Wong dropped a reptilian bomb, stating he was "90 percent sure" the school would eliminate its 85-year-old mascot.

Wong now tells SF Weekly the Gator's days may not be done after all. The problem, he says, is that while "there wasn't a whimper of complaint" about the mascot, "people didn't get it."

Well, okay: It's derived from "Golden Gater," referencing a bridge of some renown. Wong retorts that would-be students ask why it's spelled "Gator."

Well, because "Gaters" confused people.

But an image of a Gator and a bridge — that would elucidate everything. "We could actually keep the Gator ... and tie it into the bridge better," says Wong. "I could live with that."

A reptilian reprieve, however, would require a cull. State has, per Wong, "about four different Gator images." Internet photos depict Wong sandwiched between two different googly-eyed pantomime gators (one purple, one green).

Gators move quickly but dumping one is a slow process. Myriad boards and commissions and designers must be consulted. Wong can't foresee any changes for at least two years.

Perhaps then he'll alter his Twitter handle: @GatorPres.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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