Mikaela Bakey selected as the new Hawk mascot
With the graduation of longtime Hawk mascot, Timmy Parks, ’17, the wings of Saint Joseph’s University beloved bird needed a new inhabitant. This week it was announced by SJU Athletics that rising senior Mikaela Bakey will become the new mascot.
“What I’m most looking forward to bringing to the program is my enthusiasm for the basketball program and allowing that to radiate through the mascot costume,” Bakey said.
SJU Athletics along with men’s basketball Head Coach Phil Martelli selected Bakey for the position after an extensive interview process. With financial benefits and the opportunity to travel with the basketball team, it is a job that requires the perfect candidate.
“The first step is obtaining a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, writing an essay, as well as submitting a resume,” Bakey explained. “The next steps were two rounds of in-person interviews that helped find the perfect candidate for the position.”
According to Bakey, she received a personal phone call from Martelli congratulating her on earning the coveted position.
“It was a difficult decision,” Martelli said. “The finalists and all applicants were extraordinary. What stood out with Mikaela was her strength of personality, her enthusiasm, her positive outlook and her pure unadulterated love for Saint Joseph’s University.”
Bakey’s selection is special, as she is the third woman in history to serve as the mascot, behind Sarah Brennan (2000-01) and Brienne Ryan (2009-10). Famous for flapping its wings throughout the entirety of men’s basketball games, the Hawk travels to every game with the team and serves as a team manager. Bakey is familiar with the extensive time commitment due to her time spent serving as a manager for the past two seasons.
“I don’t believe anyone has had to endure such physical activity as flapping your arms for two plus hours on end, but I believe with the passion and motivation I have, I will be prepared for the season,” Bakey said.
SJU Athletics and Martelli have a great deal of faith in their choice as the new face of St. Joe’s.
“I fully expect that through her positive attitude and through her upbeat personality that Mikaela will set a high standard for the hawks that will follow her and will hopefully encourage more students to get even more involved throughout the campus,” Martelli said. “Her love for the university will come through as she plays her role as the Hawk for this year.”
Bakey has already made her debut as the Hawk mascot when she led the university’s newest alumni, the Class of 2017 out of the Commencement ceremony.
“The first time I tried it [the costume] on, I giggled because I looked like a baby hawk since I’m on the shorter side,” Bakey remarked.
Bakey believes her appreciation and love of St. Joe’s will only grow as the Hawk.
“The spirit flows within the students, faculty, fans and players in the arena on game day as motivation to keep fighting and never give up,” Bakey said. “This job and the spirit of THWND is also very important to me because of a little family rivalry I have developed over my time at SJU. My dad is a Villanova graduate so being able to put the Hawk suit on and flap my wings at the game and support my university makes the Holy War and rivalry even more special for me.”
Bakey will don the Hawk costume for the entirety of the 2017-18 school year, showing us the true meaning behind The Hawk Will Never Die.