Paw Paw dumps Redskins mascot, becomes first Red Wolves in Michigan

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Paw Paw's mascot stood for too long, folks in this southwest Michigan village eventually decided.

Now, Paw Paw's mascot will stand alone.

The school district announced Monday its new mascot will be the Red Wolves — the only Red Wolves in the entire state of Michigan. The Michigan High School Athletic Association has more than 700 member schools. The school district decided in late March to retire the controversial Redskins moniker.

Paw Paw Public Schools announced its new mascot Monday.

“Having a unique nickname was one of the most important considerations from the beginning," Paw Paw superintendent Rick Reo said in a statement.

Paw Paw's school board turned the decision process over to a task force that include 27 students, and it received more than 700 submissions. The task force was charged with deciding on a mascot based on respect and inclusiveness. The other finalists were Phoenix and Lions.

The Red Wolves mascot will become official at the school board's July 13 meeting.

The decision to change mascots leaves Michigan with just four schools that continue calling themselves Redskins: Camden-Frontier, Clinton, Sandusky and Saranac.

Multiple schools have switched over the years, among them Milford, which voted to oust the Redskins in 2002, settling on the Mavericks as the school's new mascot.

Paw Paw's board narrowly voted in 2017 to keep the Redskins mascot, before voting to change in March.

A new logo is in the works, and will be "intimidating," Paw Paw High School senior Connor Hindenach said.

“During the strategic planning process I’ve heard time and time again that unity and togetherness and family bonds are all strong values of the Paw Paw community,” Reo said. “This new nickname gives us a chance to focus on those values by stressing that in the Paw Paw school district, like red wolves in the wild, we are so much stronger when we come together.” 

Paw Paw is located just west of Kalamazoo and perhaps most famous in Michigan sports circles as being the home of former Detroit Tigers slugger Charlie Maxwell and former NFL first-round pick Jason Babin.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984