The Story Behind Our Muskie’s Fighting Spirit

Karla Ceja, Staff Reporter

Here at Lakeland University, we all may know our mascot, Musko the Muskie, but not everyone knows where the inspiration for our fierce finned friend came from. 

According to David Gallianetti, Lakeland University Athletic Director from 1932-1937, Elmer Ott, was a fishing fanatic, and favorites were muskies. “Ott thought that Muskies gave up a real fight [and from] that fighting spirt, he nicknamed our athletic teams the Muskies,” said Gallianetti.  

While fishing, Ott casually compared our Lakeland athletics teams to the muskie because of our common fighting spirits, but little did he know that the nickname would carry on for decades to come. 

Ott’s knowledge of, love for and dedication to Lakeland helped revitalize Lakeland’s athletics.  

After joining in 1932, Ott established the basketball and cross-country programs. Just a couple months later, he introduced tennis and track, while taking the football team to conference in 1933. Because of his contributions to our school and athletics teams, our athletes keep growing and improving; his presence on campus will never fade. 

Our muskie mantra also imbues our fighting spirits. According to Hallie Theune, senior studying math education, “fear the fish is intimidating.” 

Susana Stevens, a freshman majoring in Biology and member of the women’s  volleyball team, said “it’s the brand that [my team and I] live by.” We are all Muskies, even if we don’t know it, we are. We are all courageous and keep the fighting spirt saw alive, just like Ott would have wanted it. 

Wanna jump back to 2013 and see Muskie in his older suit? Click here! Also, make sure to keep up and support our Muskie schedule, click here!