The ‘tail’ of the Blue Devil

Jet Miller '24, Staff Writer

Residents of Grosse Pointe have undoubtedly seen at least one incarnation of South’s iconic mascot, the Blue Devil. Whether it be plastered on the wall of Trader Joe’s, worn proudly on one of the various sports teams’ uniforms or brought to life on the football field by an anonymous student, every Grosse Pointer is familiar with the yellow horns and the fearsome blue scowl. However, despite its notoriety, few know the origin and subsequent history of the devil, which, just like the school it represents, has changed and evolved over time.

The process regarding the selection of the Blue Devil as South’s school mascot actually developed not long after plans for the construction of the school were made. English teacher Harry Campion, who has taught at South since 1994, and who did his own personal research on the history of the school, explained that it was the school board who decided the mascot.

“The board president, who was a graduate of Duke University, absolutely wanted (South’s mascot) to be the Blue Devil, because it’s the Blue Devils (at) Duke,” Campion said. “He managed to prevail with a three to two vote, because there were only five school board members in those days.”

Despite this decision being made before the school’s opening, the image of the Blue Devil as it is known today didn’t come to prominence until the 1970s, mostly due to the religious connotations the mascot held in the eyes of Grosse Pointers. However, that’s not to say the mascot was never used previously, as several South athletic clubs made various merchandise with the devil on it before it began to be more widely utilized as a logo for team uniforms.

After the mascot became more prevalent, calls from members of the community to change the mascot began to flood school board meetings. According to James Adams, who graduated from South in 1987 and began teaching science classes at the school in 1994, there was actually a committee formed to make the devil less menacing.

“What they came up with were other faces of devils, and they were way worse,” Adams said.

As Campion recalls, past administrations were even called on to change the mascot altogether by community members at school board meetings.

“People have suggested things like the ‘Blue Angels’,” Campion said. “That was quite a number of years ago. I don’t recollect any others. That’s the one that stuck with me.”

As time has gone on, most of the community has seemingly grown to accept and cherish the unique mascot, and in recent years, the Blue Devil mask has been worn on the sidelines of the home football games by anonymous students in the hopes of rallying the crowds.

“It’s been a very exciting experience, really gets the adrenaline pumping,” one of the anonymous Blue Devils said. “It’s nice to get the crowd excited.”

As for future Blue Devils, the anonymous student has two simple, but powerful pieces of advice.

“Keep your identity secret, and be cool.”