What appears to be a prank has left William & Mary’s popular mascot without a head.
Specifically, the large and fluffy green, yellow, and white eagle head to the Griffin costume has gone missing. Staff at Tribe Athletics, who manage the mascot’s appearances for both athletics events as well as general requests, discovered Wednesday that the costume head was missing from its locked storage closet at William & Mary Hall. The rest of the costume remained in the large duffel bags used to store it, according to Spencer Milne, assistant athletics director for marketing, promotions and ticket services.
Milne, who is also the Griffin’s manager, said he regularly checks on the costume and last saw the complete mascot ensemble on May 9. On Wednesday, he went to the closet to check on it and noticed a hanger was left on the inside door handle, propping it slightly open. He looked inside.
“The costume’s wings were in a bag,” he said. “The suit was in a bag. But I didn’t find the head.”
Milne said staff immediately conducted a search of the building and spoke with anyone who might have access to the closet. At this time, he said, there is no other information on the missing Griffin head. The ultimate goal, Milne added, is to simply have it returned.
“At this point, my hope is to recover it quickly and undamaged, before it becomes a more serious matter,” said Milne, adding it will take several weeks for W&M to receive a replacement costume head, which is about three feet in diameter and costs about $2,000 to make. “We just want it back. No questions asked.”
Interim Police Chief Ed Schardein said anyone who finds the mascot head can return it to the William & Mary Police Department, located at 201 Ukrop Way.
“The department is open 24 hours a day,” Schardein said. “Returning the head now will not result in any criminal charges being brought. That won’t always be the case.”
The Griffin was announced as W&M’s new mascot in 2010. Since that time, the mythical creature that combines the head of an eagle and the body of a lion has become a significant part of the William & Mary family, performing at both Tribe sports games and other signature events on campus and around the Williamsburg community. The Griffin’s next appearance was scheduled for an employee appreciation event at William & Mary on June 17.Anyone with information on the missing costume head is encouraged to contact W&M Police at 757-221-4596.