Friar Dom was born from the ashes of a dead Dalmatian. That’s pretty much all you need to know about Providence College’s mascot, the creepiest face of any university in the NCAA tournament.
According to its website, Providence’s first mascot in 1935 was a Dalmatian named Friar of What-Ho, because the pope called the Dominican brothers who founded the school “watchdogs of the Lord.”
That’s just about the perfect mascot, because only Cruella de Vil can’t get excited about a black-and-white spotted puppy. He’s literally man’s best friend. PC rode Friar of What-Ho and his successors, Friar Boy I, II, III and IV, to unprecedented success, winning two 1963 National Invitational Tournament championships on the backs of Lenny Wilkens, John Thompson and future Boston Mayor Ray Flynn.
The problem with puppies, though, is they become dogs, and all dogs go to heaven. Once Friar Boy IV succumbed, it seems, the Providence faithful could not bear losing another best friend, so they birthed a human mascot — a lovable character the college describes as “a rather jolly fellow who, with a wide smile and even wider belly, resembled the lovable Friar Tuck from the Tales of Robin Hood.”
Now, the only other thing besides puppies that raucous college crowds can universally agree upon is drunken fat men of the cloth, so this was a fine choice. Providence responded by making their first three NCAA tournament appearances, thanks in part to Jalen Rose’s dad, Jimmy Walker, and after a run of five more tourney bids in the 1970s, the Friars reached a pair of Final Fours under future Boston Celtics general managers Dave Gavitt and Rick Pitino. By the grace of God, the good times were rolling.
This is where darkness crept in, as always seems to be the case when Pitino rolls through. In 1993, on the 75th anniversary of the college’s founding, PC unveiled Friar Boy V, a live Dalmatian beloved by all.
Eight years later, tragedy struck again, and the school, apparently so filled with despair that it made a deal with the devil, hired an outside firm — Sugar’s Mascot Costumes, creators of Wally the Green Monster and Snuggle the fabric softener bear — to birth a new mascot, one who could not ever die.
And from the ashes of Friar Boy V came Friar Dom, the ghoulish mascot who still haunts the sidelines. Where once a tongue-wagging Dalmatian melted their hearts, a zombie apostle now melts their faces.
Providence College gave into evil, and the result has been four straight NCAA tournament showings. Friar Dom’s rise to power is only getting stronger, capturing headlines everywhere from the New York Post and Deadspin as “Providence College’s terrifying mascot” and “March Madness’s Cruelest Mascot.”
He is billed as “the true face of Providence College that the whole nation can recognize,” fitting of the soulless dystopian dictator who will march us all into madness if we stare into those cavernous eyes.
Soon enough, Friar Dom will lord over us all, a constant reminder of the puppies who the Dominican brothers long ago dropped off at the farm. Meanwhile, he will be lurking in the shadows of the NCAA tournament, striking fear into free-throw shooters and haunting your favorite team’s huddle.
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