The University of Tulsa's mascot, Captain Cane, is a superhero who through the years has morphed from looking like a marshmallow to carrying a more fierce persona.
He has muscles, uses a Hurricane Warning Flag as his cape and has the power to summon weather.
Try as he may, scary he is not. But that's a good thing when dealing with mascots that appeal to children.
Captain Cane, without a cape, was known as Hurc or Hurcie from 1977-1994. He had a funnel head with a hole on top of the uniform. Fans used to throw stuff into the hole on top of the funnel.
The story goes that when Nolan Richardson was hired as men's basketball coach in 1980, he immediately insisted the mascot be banned. Hurc still appeared on some campus stationary and was used as a logo at times, but basically it was an invisible mascot.
The Polka Dot Twins popped up during TU basketball games as an homage to Nolan's wardrobe.
Local entertainer Myron Noodleman served as TU’s mascot in 1991. Noodleman, who does a Jerry Lewis impersonation, joined the other Missouri Valley mascots at the conference tournament that year.
Fast forward to 1994, when Tulsa basketball was having a Sweet 16 season. Captain Cane magically appeared with the cape at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
That version of Captain Cane had the Funnel Head, but had a mean look on his face. Terrifying, he was not. A few years later, Captain Cane appeared with a smile, or smirk, on his face. Must have been mellowed. There was even a bobblehead made of him with the smile that was available on eBay.
But criticism from news outlets like Fox Sports, who labeled Cane the second-worst mascot in college sports behind the Stanford Tree, prompted action.
Trying for a newer version of Captain Cane, TU came up with the current version in 2009, a version that has been tweaked a little in the ensuing years.
The legend of Captain Cane is told on TU’s website with the following story:
"Colin Cane, a freshman at The University of Tulsa, worked in IT support at night to help pay his way through college. During an electrical storm one night, Colin was called to the TU sports complex to fix a malfunctioning satellite that was broadcasting a live game.
"Never again would he watch his favorite team in action as a mere mortal. As he adjusted the satellite, the roar of the crowd coursed through the transmitter just as it was zapped with static electricity from the storm. Colin became entangled in a web of cyber-athletic forces.
"The atmospheric oddity known as a "binary vortex" mutated Colin over the course of several years. He eventually lost his hair but gained super-human powers. Thus he became Captain `Cane, a champion athlete and highly educated zealot of all things TU."