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Canes We Love: Sebastian the Ibis

The Miami mascot is the most infamous in its phylum

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Consistency is college football is hardly an entity in the modern era. Coaches change schools moving around under pressure from administrators, fans, and boosters. The era of a coach staying at a university like the old days of Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden and LaVell Edwards have passed us by. At Miami four of five national championships were won by different head football coaches as only Dennis Erickson won two in Coral Gables.

With all of the change of graduate transfers, early entrees to the NFL Draft, and the transfer portal- one thing that has remained constant at the University of Miami has been Sebastian the Ibis. The Ibis was originally portrayed by John Stormont, but the most famous man inside the suit was John Routh, who was also the Miami Maniac and Billy the Marlin.

Sebastian, especially his early incarnation with the pipe sticking out from his beak, displays the toughness of the Miami Hurricanes football program during their most dominant run over college football. Sebastian was big, tough, and unpredictable- much like the players who wouldn’t let the blue blood programs of college football tell them they were less than (I’m looking at you, Notre Dame).

Routh was Sebastian from 1984-1992, quite the heyday of Ibis hi-jinx and Hurricane football. With Routh as the Ibis the Hurricanes won three national titles, played for the shot at three more, and saw Miami win two Heisman Trophy Awards. While the coaches shuffled from Howard Schnellenberger, to Jimmy Johnson, to Dennis Erickson, Routh and his Ibis remained a constant symbol for the fans of the Miami Hurricanes.

Part of the Miami mystique was Sebastian himself. Sebastian was as bad boy as Jerome Brown, Michael Irvin, or Cortez Kennedy. The Ibis is an infamous figure known for setting the Sooner Schooner on fire, trying to extinguish the flaming spear at Florida State, and dressing in camouflage fatigues for the Fiesta Bowl. He tried to brand Bevo and is the only mascot, and Ibis, with an arrest record.

Much like the U on the side of the helmets is a symbol of the greatness that emanated from the sweltering Orange Bowl on a Saturday afternoon, so to is the Ibis roaming the sidelines looking for a brawl or a good time. As someone that spent many weekends in the Orange Bowl growing up nothing really said Miami Hurricanes like Sebastian the Ibis leading his Hurricanes out through the smoke.