OU mascot Top Daug crowd surfs in the second half during the men's college basketball game between University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., Saturday, March 1, 2008. Ken Evans returned to perform as Top Daug as part of a tribute to the 1988 OU men's basketball team. The Sooners won, 64-37. NATE BILLINGS/The Oklahoman
Top Daug’s return to Oklahoma basketball became official on Tuesday.
The much-loved mascot spawned during the Billy Tubbs-era of OU hoops will be reintroduced to the current generation during the Sooners’ home game against Kansas on Jan. 14.
“This is going to be a lot of fun," said OU director of athletics Joe Castiglione in a statement. "The enduring love that our fans have for Top Daug proves that this is a fixture in our basketball tradition.
“We’re excited to welcome back an OU icon and it will be here to stay. There has been an electricity that has followed Top Daug and we look forward to a similar impact in the Lloyd Noble Center this year and beyond.”
A special pregame introduction will occur 15 minutes before the scheduled 8 p.m. contest against the Jayhawks. The mascot will make its debut at a women’s home game on Jan. 19 against TCU.
Top Daug was the Sooners’ mascot during the mid-1980s and was a fixture at games and on television during the Big 8 days and two Final Four runs (1988 and 2002).
The school retired the mascot in 2004, but did make a one-time appearance in 2008 as part of the 20-year Final Four reunion of the 1988 squad.
Oklahoma’s Twitter account started dropping hints of the mascot’s return this week, beginning with a note saying “The next one is big. We need everyone and their dog to shop us and help us beat Kansas.” The account also followed nine “dog” accounts on Twitter in a short span.
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Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391