The Yale Bulldog, Handsome Dan I (1889-1898), was the first live collegiate mascot, and now Dan’s scanned replica stands guard, in bronze and larger than life, outside the historic Yale Bowl. The 42-inch, quarter ton statue is part of a Centerbrook master plan and subsequent additions and improvements to Yale University’s Derby Avenue Athletic Campus.

Handsome Dan the statue was created in a painstaking process that transformed the taxidermy of the dearly departed 19th century mascot into a monumental modern icon, creating a new Yale tradition: patting the metallic Dan for luck.

Dan resides resolutely next to Y-emblazoned iron gates that open to the new Jensen Plaza and Kenney Center, which together have created a formal entrance to the famed football stadium, something it has lacked since it was built in 1914. The names of all of the football “Y” recipients who have competed for the Bulldogs since 1872 are carved into the Mount Airy Granite paving of Jensen Plaza. The three-story Kenney Center houses team meeting and training rooms as well as facilities for alumni and guests to watch the action on the gridiron and see, too, across the renovated athletic campus to Yale’s tailgating venues.

Dan will welcome not just Yale fans and footballers to the Bowl; he faces Centerbrook’s new Reese Stadium for soccer and lacrosse and also looks to a path beyond leading to the expanded, renovated Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Looking nobly over his domain, Dan undoubtedly will inspire generations of Yale athletes.

The Installation of Dan drew local and national media attention.

Photography © Mark Simon, Peter Aaron/OTTO