By Robert Held
A lot of people know the Central Connecticut State University mascot as the Blue Devil, but not only does he have a name, he also has a few different people inside the costume that play him.
Officially introduced in 2011, Central’s mascot did not have a name at first. The University had a contest where fans, students, and staff all had the chance to submit names for the new mascot.
Over 250 different names were suggested for the Blue Devil. Central, ultimately chose the name Kizer, after it was suggested by a faculty member. Kizer is named after Harrison Kaiser, who was the first chairman of the physical education department at Central. Kaiser also went on to be named athletic director.
Kaiser worked in Central’s athletic department for almost 30 years. In fact, the building at Central that houses the athletic department is named after him.
“This is a great way for us to honor someone who got it all started for the Blue Devils,” said Central’s Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann, “Harrison J. Kaiser is a name synonymous with CCSU athletics, it is only appropriate that the Blue Devil now bears his name. Every student-athlete who competes for CCSU is familiar with Harrison Kaiser. This is a great way to connect our past, present and future.”
For many years Central’s mascot was known as Victor E. However, the school decided to change the name of the mascot after creating a new logo and mascot costume.
Kizer the Blue Devil has been making appearances at games both home and on the road since the name change. He was first officially introduced on Sept. 3 2011, during halftime of a football game victory over Southern Connecticut State University.
While some people might think that the Kizer costume is only inhabited by one person throughout the school year, it actually goes through a rotation of 3-4 students. It is a busy lifestyle for those who wear the costume. Besides appearing at Central athletic events, Kizer the Blue Devil also makes several appearances throughout the New Britain community area. He is even available to be booked for appearances.
“We have a few students who play the Blue Devil, but we like to keep them anonymous. The mascot not only doesn’t speak while in costume, we like to keep some mystery behind who is inside the actual costume,” said Thomas Pincince, Central’s Assistant Athletic Director for Communication and Media Services.
Maybe those who are presently in the Kizer the Blue Devil costume like to keep silent about their experiences, but former students do not mind talking about their time as Central’s mascot. Allison Rolls was a junior at Central in 1998 when she wore the Blue Devil costume at basketball games. She seemed to enjoy her time as the Blue Devil.
“Some kids are very scared of me,” Rolls told the Hartford Courant in 1998. “One was waving at me at a distance, then when I came over, he started bawling. But I just do it to have fun.”