May 12, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Brienne Ryan has been selected to serve as the Saint Joseph's University Hawk mascot for the 2009-10 academic year, becoming the 32nd student to represent the University as its men's basketball mascot. She will be the second woman to hold the post in the 53 years of one of college basketball's most famous traditions.
Sarah Brennan was the only other woman in SJU history to serve as the Hawk, during the 2000-01 season.
Ryan, who will enter her senior year this fall, was chosen after the selection process that consisted of interviews with an athletic department committee and head basketball coach Phil Martelli.
A native of Blue Bell, Pa., and graduate of Gwynedd Mercy Academy, Ryan has served as a team manager and student worker for the SJU men's basketball program since 2006. She is majoring in marketing at Saint Joseph's.
"Brienne was selected from a very deep pool of candidates. The interview process always amazes me because it presents the best of the best from the Saint Joseph's student body," said Martelli. "Bri is ready, willing and able to handle the responsibilities that go with being the most-recognized mascot in college basketball."
One of the most renowned mascots in all of college athletics, The Hawk is a rarity among mascots because it travels to every game, home or away. The student who serves as the mascot has been the recipient of an endowed scholarship since 1992, and also performs the responsibilities of a team manager. Recognized by many publications over the years as the nation's top collegiate mascot, The Hawk is known for flapping its wings continuously during an entire game.
Jim Brennan originated the idea for the Saint Joseph's Hawk during the 1954-55 season, and made his debut as The Hawk on January 4, 1956, in a 69-56 SJU win over La Salle at The Palestra. In 2005-06, Saint Joseph's celebrated the golden anniversary of the mascot.