History of the Live Mascot Program

Bulldogs at Gardner-Webb

The official mascot for Gardner-Webb University is the Runnin’ Bulldog.

Throughout the years, the bulldog has been represented in numerous forms. Live bulldogs, costumed mascots and athletic branded logos have all been featured in some fashion for GWU.

Names like Butch, Chins, Victor, Barney and Roebuck have been attached to the live bulldog mascots. Mack, Mac and Lulu have been connected to the costumed mascots, and the branded athletic logo has carried the names Mack and Mac.

Founded in 1905 as a boarding high school (Boiling Springs High School), the first recorded usage of the bulldog as a mascot for the school was in 1922.

Live Mascots

Butch I (1944-1953)

As the Boiling Springs institution transitioned from a high school to a college carrying the name of a former North Carolina Governor (O. Max Gardner) and his wife (Fay Webb Gardner), Gardner-Webb College introduced the first live mascot. Butch I lived at the home of football coach Wayne Bradburn, and later long-time Dean of Instruction, J. O. Terrell.

Butch II (1953-1955)

Gardner-Webb Football player Gerald Freeman (Shelby, N.C.) allowed his family bulldog to serve as the adopted mascot during a transitional period as the school searched for a permanent replacement.

Chins (1955-1960)

Chins graced the Gardner-Webb campus thanks to community supporters Hubert Seaford Plaster, a Shelby, N.C. dentist, and his wife, Ruth Howie Plaster, an instructor of organ at Gardner-Webb. They served as caretakers for the next Gardner-Webb Mascot, Chins, for five years.

Victor I (1960-1969) and Victor II (1969-1970):   

Horace “Bud” McSwain, 1952 alumnus, Boiling Springs postmaster, and supporter for the Gardner-Webb athletics program, provided his services for 10 years as the relationship liaison between two live mascots and the school. 

There were no official documented live mascots for over four decades.

Barney (2010-2014)

Barney was the family member of Lou Ann Scates, her husband, Doug, and son, Andy. Dr. Dee Hunt, Vice President of Student Development, and GW President Dr. Frank Bonner agreed it was time after several decades to revitalize the live mascot program for the University and officially inaugurated Barney into the Runnin’ Bulldog family as a young pup. Barney retired in 2014 and passed away in October 2020.  

Roebuck (2015-2021)

Roebuck was first introduced in 2015 and named in honor of Mike Roebuck, an avid runner, cyclist, and triathlete. Mike had worked at Gardner-Webb for nearly 20-years in roles like Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Services and Director of Financial Aid. Mike passed away unexpectedly on March 4, 2015, yet his name still lived on when a live mascot was introduced.

Roebuck, under the care of Brooke Greene, who raises and sells English Bulldogs is a campus favorite at events for students, community and athletics. Roebuck has been featured in numerous photo and video shoots during his post as the official live mascot.