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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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History of sparky
History of Sparky

Kimberly Robinson


Tempe normal school 1885
Tempe Normal School1885

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.


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.


When tempe normal school became arizona state teachers college owls became bulldogs
When Tempe Normal School became Arizona State Teachers College, “Owls” became “Bulldogs.”


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 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 always participates in sun devil traditions
Sparky always participates in 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.Sun Devil Traditions


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.




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