For the past nine seasons we've all fallen in love with the furry, four-legged husky that graces Northern Illinois' sidelines. His name is Diesel, and he's somewhat of a celebrity. But tonight will mark the last time Diesel will be in attendance at Huskie stadium as the official mascot of NIU.
Diesel, along with his owner Tom Bonnevier are retiring from their duties at the end of the season. The pair will be honored tonight alongside the senior football players on Senior Night at Huskie Stadium. Over the past nine seasons Diesel has attended nearly every NIU game. He's been to every Mid-American Conference stadium, except for UMass' and has been seen cheering on his Huskies from the sidelines of bowl games in Toronto, Mobile, Shreveport and Miami. He's been
"In many ways, Diesel has become the face of Huskie football over the past nine years," Sean T. Frazier, NIU's Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics said in a press release. "He’s been the constant figure on the sidelines representing NIU, whether home or away, at bowl games, spring games and more. He’s a fan favorite, the TV cameras love him and he’s a great dog. On behalf of Huskie Nation, I want to thank Tom and Diesel for everything they have done to represent Northern Illinois University."
But the sidelines won't be husky-less. Diesel will take on a "mascot-emeritus" role according to Fraizer, and his successor, a two-year-old husky named Mission will be making his debut tonight. Mission might not be as magical as his predecessor but he is a high-ranking pup. He was donated to Northern Illinois's ROTC program by John and Cassandra McKearn and has already been awarded the rank of Colonel in the NIU ROTC Battalion.
So while tonight will mark the end of a long history of Diesel high-fiving cheerleaders on the sidelines of Huskie Stadium, the pack isn't losing anything, but merely gaining a new member.
Help us say goodbye to Diesel, and welcome in Mission in the comments section below by sharing your favorite memory of Diesel.