Oct. 10, 2002
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Capital One today announced that Western Kentucky University's Big Red was selected to the first-ever Capital One All-America Mascot Team. Big Red will be featured in an upcoming television advertising campaign and compete against the other 11 mascots for the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year to be announced during the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003.
"Each year the best college football players are named to All-America teams, and for the first time ever, college mascots will have their own team," said Pam Girardo, manager, consumer public relations at Capital One. "Capital One thinks it is time to give these true heroes the recognition they deserve."
Named to the inaugural mascot team are:
* Albert - University of Florida
* Big Al - University of Alabama
* Big Red - Western Kentucky University
* The Bird - U.S. Air Force Academy
* Buzz - Georgia Tech
* Monte - University of Montana
* Nittany Lion - Penn State
* Otto the Orange - Syracuse University
* Sebastian the Ibis - University of Miami
* Seymour - Southern Mississippi University
* Smokey - University of Tennessee
* Victor E. Bull - University at Buffalo
Starting today, these 12 feathered, furry and lovable creatures will compete for the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year. Fans across the country now can vote for their favorite mascot through real-time, online polling at www.capitalonebowl.com. The National Mascot of the Year will be announced during the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003.
"Mascots have a passion and an energy that keeps thousands of college football fans screaming and yelling and coming back each week for great football," said Girardo. "What better way is there to recognize these unsung heroes than to bring together the best of the best and then have the fans select online the National Mascot of the Year."
"We are so proud of Big Red being selected to the Capital One All-America Mascot Team," said Western Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig. "The university encourages Hilltopper fans to support his quest to become the National Mascot of the Year by voting online beginning today.
"Big Red has long been a Hilltopper fan favorite. With Big Red being featured throughout the month of August on television ads promoting the airing of ESPN's 25,000th Sports Center, Big Red has recently become much more of a national celebrity, a mascot icon if you will. The demand for Big Red at public events and for public appearances has gone through the roof. We expect Big Red to represent WKU alumni, fans, and friends well in Capitol One's All-America Mascot Team competition. Additionally, we feel that Big Red has the perfect cranium to wear the crown of National Mascot of the Year."
The Capital One All-America Mascot Team was opened to all NCAA Division I-A and I-AA school mascots representing football programs. Nomination kits, which were mailed to the Division I-A and I-AA athletic departments in late August, were due back on Sept. 18, 2002. A panel of judges, made up of representatives from ESPN, Capital One and the mascot community, selected and notified the 12 finalists on Sept. 21. Judging criteria included fan interaction, demonstration of good sportsmanship and community service involvement. Each of the 12 mascots will receive $5,000, payable to its school's athletic department, for use in scholarship and funding of the mascot program. The National Mascot of the Year winner will receive an additional $5,000 (total of $10,000).
Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One FSB, offer consumer-lending products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 48.6 million accounts and $53.2 billion in managed loans outstanding as of June 30, 2002. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Falls Church, Va., is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index. Capital One is proud to continue the college football bowl tradition that began in Orlando 57 years ago by sponsoring the Capital One Bowl, which will again feature teams from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences on Jan. 1, 2003.