History of Sparky. Kimberly Robinson. Tempe Normal School 1885. Arizona State University opened its doors in March of 1885 as “Tempe Normal School”. When the Tempe Normal School Football team begin playing in 1889, the student body chose “owls” for its mascot.
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Arizona State University opened its doors in March of 1885 as “Tempe Normal School”
After much research, ASU archives department provided me with this image to show what the mascot looked like during that time, they only used live ones during that time.
On November 8, 1946, the student body voted to change the Bulldog and have it replaced by the Sun Devil. It became official by the student council on November 20th and the very next day, the first Arizona State team played as the Sun Devils.
Contrary to many claims, the first Sparky was not created by Walt Disney Studios, it was created by artist Berk Anthony. Berk was an artist at the Disney Studios, but not at the time when he first designed the playful imp.
Sparky the Sun Devil is an imp, a mythological being in folklore and superstition. The mascot was developed to reflect the energy and enthusiasm of ASU.
ASU Mascot Transition
When current students were polled on if they would want the ASU mascot to be an owl, bulldog or Sparky the Sun Devil, the response was overwhelmingly a Sun Devil.
For more information on ASU and Sparky click here.