On the cover: the evolution of WuShock

Written by Joe Stumpe

It’s been ranked one of the 10 strangest mascots in college sports — No. 5, to be specific — but that just endears WuShock to Wichita State fans all the more. After all, what’s puzzling to outsiders makes perfect sense once you know the history of WuShock.

WuShock is descended from the school’s first name for its athletic teams — the Wheatshockers — back when it was still Fairmount College in the early 1900s. The name made sense because so much wheat was and is grown in the area.

But the image of a shock of wheat was not considered ideal for representing the school and its teams. In 1948, contests were held among students to design a mascot and name it. Wilbur Elsea, a junior who’d been a Marine during World War II, won the design competition, while freshman Jack Kersting coined the name “WuShock.”

Through the decades, various changes have been made to WuShock’s design, but the current one is close in spirit to the combative WuShock drawn by Elsea. As the former Marine said, “The character should be tougher than a boot.”

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