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Going behind the mask: The history of DIBS

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DIBS, shown above during the 1980s, originally came to DePaul under the name Billy Blue Demon, but the name was updated along with the DePaul logo change in 1999. (Image courtesy of University Archives)
Known for being the Blue Demons' No. 1 fan for decades, the Demon in a Blue Suit, aka DIBS, is the most iconic DePaul spirit team member.

Who DIBS is has been a coveted secret of those who have had the opportunity to sport the furry suit for generations. In a rare interview, a current DIBS performer shares some of the mascot's history, responsibilities and what the future may hold for DePaul's favorite Blue Demon.

"My favorite part about being DIBS is the fact that people don't know who I am. Since no one knows who I am, I have a lot more freedom to fulfill the character that I have created for DIBS," says one of the performers. "My alter ego is a student that attends class, spends hours studying, and making sure that I'm hydrated; it's very hot inside of the costume."

DIBS candidates must first be full-time students at DePaul. Interviews and auditions follow. DIBS job opportunities are also posted on the student employment website. There are some physical demands to the mascot position, so once performers pass the initial interview, they also have to pass a physical examination, similar to those other DePaul athletes undergo.

"Personally, I had been a mascot during my senior year of high school, and I hadn't even thought about doing it in college until seeing DIBS at the orientation tradition tour," says one of the performers. "During the DePaul Athletics presentation, they told us about opportunities to join the spirit squads or be a mascot, so I inquired at the end of the presentation."

The anonymity of DIBS allows for each individual to develop his or her own personality in the costume. There is no formal training, but performers do receive tips and advice from other Chicago team mascots.

"There are up to four performers during the year. The senior DIBS do the bigger events and mentor the younger ones. When students first start, they are in a conditional mode, like an apprentice," says Karen Loiacono, the director of marketing and licensing for the Blue Demon Athletics Department. "There is not a lot of time for training, so it is more hands-on. You have to really be in a suit to learn. A lot of students who want to be DIBS have already had training in terms of theater or dance."

According to Loiacono, a demon mascot representing a Catholic university was not something that was chosen, but evolved overtime. In 1900, the monogram "D" was selected for the uniforms of the first athletic team to represent DePaul University. As a result the nickname "D-men" originated and eventually evolved into "Demons." The "Blue" signifies loyalty and was chosen in 1901 by a vote of the student body to be combined with "Demons."

Even though DIBS's logo and name has changed over the years, school spirit has always remained a priority.

"DIBS is very happy when the DePaul community comes together in support of our sports teams as it makes a really fun environment," says one performer. "DIBS would love to have more faculty and staff join with our students at events outside the classroom."