The return of Saxon Pride














It’s been 29 years since Saxon fans have seen the Saxon warrior on horseback, the living symbol of Saxon pride at athletics events. This fall will see the return of that much anticipated warrior and horse, as well as a brand new mascot.

The warrior will be sporting a historically accurate costume designed by Debra MacCrea, costume shop manager/costumer of the AU Division of Performing Arts. Every home football game will be an opportunity to see the new figure riding in support of the Saxons. In many ways it will resemble the costume that appeared at Merrill Field all those decades ago.

At every home football game from 1979-84, the popular costumed warrior would preside. Clad in a historically accurate outfit designed by dance professor Carla Murgia, he would escort the team to the endzone during the pregame activities. During the games he would parade behind the endzone, and more importantly, pass along the sideline in front of the opposing team’s bench as a deliberate and very effective distraction after a Saxon score. For those who remember those days, the displeasure of the opposition coaches was more than matched by the enthusiasm of the fans on the home side of the field. 

It truly was another era. Not only was the promenade along the sideline a display of victory, it was (at least for a couple of years before certain precautions were taken with the horse) a situation that could result in an equine “accident” near the visiting team for a less-than-dignified gesture of the Saxons’ regard for their opponents.

In late 2012, a committee of AU alums and administrators was formed to oversee the return of this important symbol of Saxon Pride, and to develop an acccompanying mascot that could be used for other athletics events. The mascot is based upon the warrior, but is a plush, “family friendly” character that brings a sense of fun to the competitions and can be used for other campus events.

This spring, a friendly naming competition was conducted among current students, faculty, staff, and alumni via Facebook, email, and Twitter. (See the “Search for a Saxon” webpage at for images and more background information.) What emerged is Alfred the Great for the live warrior, who will be atop his trusty steed Alden (Anglo-Saxon for defender). Our costume mascot will be known as L’il Alf.

Alfred the Great and Alden (from AU’s Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center at Maris Cuneo Equine Park) will be seen parading behind the end zones during the games, but will not be passing in front of the visitors’ stands as in years gone by. Alas, some things had to change.

This historic debut takes place at the first home football game: Saxons vs RPI, 1 p.m., Saturday Sept. 14, 2013. We’ll see you there!

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