HUMANS OF THE U: BRANDAN MAYER-BLACKWELL

“My father and I were regulars at University of Utah sporting events, particularly basketball games, so we were aware of the red-tailed hawk that was in need of a name. I remember brainstorming names with my dad, and we settled on Swoop because it worked in a number of ways. A bird swoops, a ball swooshes and players swoop in for an interception. So it seemed like a versatile name. I don’t remember how I was informed that I had won the naming contest, although I do remember that as a perk of winning, I got to go to an away football game with the team. Utah got obliterated in that game, playing against Rice University. I remember being astonished that the linemen could eat an entire pizza individually.”

— Brandan Mayer-Blackwell, Fan, son of a faculty member and winner of the mascot naming contest in 1996

We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at ThisWeek@utah.edu.