OU brings Top Daug out of retirement to save men’s basketball program

Back in 2015, after an OU horse pig threw popcorn on some OSU fans inside Lloyd-Noble, I took an opportunity to reminisce about OU men’s hoops and write about one of my favorite mascots – Top Daug. Here’s a snippet:

Out of all the mistakes the Sooner brass has made with the basketball program, the worst was tossing aside the beloved hoops mascot, Top Daug, for the monstrosity known as the Horse Pigs (Boomer and Sooner) in 2004.

Top Daug made his debut during the run and gun days of the Billy Tubbs era. Billy didn’t want the team to be known as “under dogs,” so he came up with the idea for a Top Daug mascot. Cheesy? Yes… but Top Daug was awesome. He had a bold, obnoxious personality, could spin his head around in circles, and whenever you had to suffer through a patented “OU Field Goal Drought” during the “heart, hustle, hardwood” days of the Kelvin Sampson era, he’d serve as reminder for how fun things used to be.

Well, I guess it’s never too late to correct a mistake.

Approximately 15 years after they abandoned him in the country, the University of Oklahoma announced yesterday that Top Daug will soon make his triumphant, long-overdue return to the Lloyd Noble Center.

Here are details via the Norman Transcript:

Oklahoma’s iconic basketball ambassador is back.

“Top Daug,” the Sooner canine mascot that once roamed Lloyd Noble Center, will come out of retirement for the OU men’s clash with Kansas on Jan. 14.

The program’s Twitter account (@OU_MBBall) gradually released cryptic, dog-related tweets throughout Monday, hinting at the mascot’s return…

Top Daug will grace Lloyd Noble Center for the first time since his retirement ahead of OU’s game against the Jayhawks at 8 p.m.

That’s pretty awesome! With all apologies to Abner 89er, I can’t think of a mascot I loved more than Top Daug. It will be so much fun to see him grab his ears and spin his little head around for the ESPN cameras again…or go ecstatic when OU manages to score more than 50 points in a game.

That being said, you have to admit it’s kind of sad that OU has to resurrect an old mascot to get fans excited about an OU – Kansas basketball game. As a kid who was there when Ernie Abercrombie made his game-winning three on the baseline against Kansas in 1995, it makes me cry a bit on the inside:

Seriously, what’s next? Bringing back the Skeeter Meeter? Putting Ryan Minor on the cover of the Yellow Pages? Lon Kruger grabbing the PA microphone and complimenting the officials? That will really get people fired up!

Anyway, although there are concerns that OU will somehow screw this up and unleash a “new and improved” Top Daug that will somehow make us miss the original even more, I’m going to be positive and ignore those thoughts like a 21st-century college basketball game. Top Daug is back, and at least for this moment, everything feels right in the world.