In a stadium packed with 60,000 spirited fans, you may have spotted the live wolf-like mascot down on the sidelines at every home game. Tuffy II has been a vibrant face of the Wolfpack, bringing pure happiness and enthusiasm to Carter-Finley Stadium.
In 2016, he was introduced to the NC State family on the field, becoming one of its most memorable mascots. On Oct. 27, 2020, tragic news struck as the entire NC State Community mourned the loss of their beloved canine.
Tuffy II had recently been treated at the NC State Veterinary School ICU on Monday, Oct. 26, having been recently diagnosed with heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Joe Downey, Tuffy II’s owner, established a “NCSU Live Mascot Tuffy II”GoFundMe to raise funds to cover his medical expenses.
On Oct. 27, 2020, Downey gratefully posted to the site that the fundraising goal for Tuffy II’s medical expenses had been exceeded and any additional donations would be given to the NC State Veterinary School.
The great loss the NC State community feels about Tuffy’s passing is expressed in this statement released by NC State Athletics on Tuesday morning.
“It is with deep sadness that we share that Tuffy II passed away in his sleep last night,” the statement said. “Our thoughts are with the Downey family, Tuffy II left a lasting impact on the NC State Community.”
A Tamaskan breed, Tuffy II held a special place in Wolfpack fans’ hearts from the time he was introduced to the NC State family on the field, cheering on Pack football to the delight of children, parents, grandparents and all members of the Pack family. The Pack had not had a live mascot on the sidelines from 1970-2010.
The N.C. State Fair released a touching statement about the impact Tuffy II had on the Wolfpack family:
“Our hearts go out to everyone in Tuffy II’s family (the Downeys), NC State Athletics, Wolfpack Football and the greater Wolfpack Nation,“ the statement said. “...Hurry quickly over the Rainbow Bridge, little buddy.”
While Tuffy II’s personality and the champion spirit he displayed will be greatly missed, it will comfort Pack fans knowing a cardboard cutout of him was placed in the end zones at the stadium, where he sits among photos of his fellow NC State family. While we each have our own experiences with Tuffy II, whether posing for a photo with him on the sidelines or watching him from the stands, this sweet mascot will live on in our hearts forever and will be remembered for the pride and joy he embodied for each Wolfpack fan.