Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 10:50 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 24 Jan 2013, 8:08 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - They made it official Thursday.
Butler's Blue II will hand off his collar March 9.
“I don’t think I thought it could be this big so soon, but the last eight years have been amazing, and we're pretty proud of what its become,” said Michael Kaltenmark, Butler’s Director of Web Marketing and Communications and the mascots’ handler.
Kaltenmark got Blue II as a puppy nearly nine years ago.
“When Blue I left, I kinda put my hand up right away and said, ‘Are we getting another dog? and if so, can I take on that responsibility?!’” added Kaltenmark.
The bulldog comes to campus five days a week, greets visitors at the end of campus tours, and now has more than 7,000 likes on his Facebook page, and more than 11,000 followers on Twitter.
“He's become a face for the institution, and thanks to social media he's become a voice for the institution as well,” said Kaltenmark.
Butler itself has been thrust into the national spotlight, with its two Final Four visits, and most recently, Hinkle Fieldhouse’s debut on ESPN College Game Day, with that last second win over Gonzaga.
“We've seen our numbers as it relates to recruitment, actually go up, so the tours are larger, the visit days are larger. It’s just exciting and it’s brought new energy to the campus,” said Levester Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs at Butler.
Of course their four-legged friends can’t help but help the university’s cause.
“Talk about a deal sealer. He’s absolutely phenomenal!” joked Johnson.
Now at the elderly age of eight, almost nine, it’ll be up to Blue III, or Trip, to carry on the tradition. Trip was introduced on Feb. 18, 2012.
Butler is planning to host a “Changing of the Collar” during the men’s basketball game, Senior Day, on March 9 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
They also plan to host a ninth birthday/retirement party for Blue II on campus March 29.
VIDEO | Meet Butler puppy bulldog Trip