Butler community mourns mascot Blue II
by Zak Keefer, USA TODAY Sports
Butler University lost a beloved son Saturday.
Blue II, the 9-year-old English bulldog that found national fame trotting alongside the men’s basketball team during successive Final Four runs in 2010 and 2011, has died. The mascot passed away due to congestive heart failure.
Blue II, who was succeeded by Butler Blue III in March, retired from his duties on May 20. At his peak, he was one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sports.
“Blue really galvanized the pride and tradition of having a live mascot at Butler,” owner Michael Kaltenmark said in a university release. “His daily presence on campus, online and at everything from athletic events to black tie galas made him a living and breathing fixture of the Butler brand. He was born for the role.”
Said Butler president Jim Danko: “Blue epitomized the Butler Way. We will miss him very much.”
Blue suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, which affects both the right and left sides of the heart. Over the past few months of his life, the Kaltenmarks inserted his medication into some specially-cooked chicken breasts and his favorite treat, ice cream.
His painted portrait will be on display at Starbucks in Butler’s Atherton Union from 9 a.m. Wednesday through the weekend.
Over the years, Blue became a media darling, meeting celebrities that include Colin Powell, Jimmy Fallon and Jillian Michaels. During the 2011 Final Four in Houston, he met former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. He was also recognized at this year’s Butler commencement ceremony, walking across the stage after the Class of 2013 graduates.
He was owned by Kaltenmark, a 2002 Butler graduate and the school’s current director of web marketing, and wife Tiffany.
“Blue had an uncanny ability to rise to the occasion,” Kaltenmark added. “Whether it was live TV, a visit with elementary school kids or just a photo shoot, he was a professional. I think it afforded him the respect and envy of a lot of other schools and fans.”
The school is planning a Bulldog Memorial to honor and remember Blue and all of Butler’s … [For more on Butler community mourns beloved mascot Blue II, click here.]