Berkshire Community College names Falcon mascot 'Burke' before basketball home opener

Jake Mendel

The Berkshire Eagle

PITTSFIELD — This fall, Berkshire Community College received over 80 different suggestions for the name of its new Falcon mascot. A few of the suggestions received included Perry, Freddie, and even Falcon McFalcon Face. Before BCC's basketball team won 87-26 win against Simon's Rock on Saturday, the school announced that Burke will be the name of the school's mascot. The win was the first of the season for the Falcons, and Burke was there to cheer the team on.

The Falcon mascot, which first appeared at the fourth of July parade, also attended the Gather-In, Downtown Trick or Treat, and every Third Thursday in Pittsfield. Burke will often be at BCC's games and events.

"We've been known as the Falcons since the 70s," Jonah Sykes, the Manager of Marketing and Communications at BCC explained. " We created the mascot but didn't have a name and we didn't want to name it ourselves."

After announcing the contest to name the mascot, BCC received 80-plus suggestions. A committee narrowed the options down to four choices: Tom, named after the first president of the College; Perry, a play on Peregrine Falcon; Freddie, an international alliterative name; and Burke, short for Berkshires. The four choices were picked after input from about 350 people.

"I think it was a good choice," Sykes said of the name Burke being chosen. "It was the overwhelming favorite of the four. It is going to be at all of the community events we go to. I think it is a great way to boost awareness of BCC. We have been trying to put a lot more of an emphasis on our club sports."

With the community turf field, known as Gene Dellea Field, recently being built, BCC's plan is to have more and more PHS, Taconic, and county-wide sports and club teams on the field.

"We want Burke at those events," Sykes said. "Just to build up team spirit, even if it isn't our team playing. As a Taconic High alum myself, a lot of the kids that play in those games will come to Berkshire Community College. We want this mascot to be the communities, not just for BCC."

Even though the mascot's name was announced on Saturday, the BCC community has already had the opportunity to work with, or even be Burke. BCC coach Chris Harrington suited up as the Falcon at the Gather-In over the summer.

"It gets hot," Harrington joked. "It was fun though, that mascot is great. Walking around with those big feet on is pretty cool."

Harrington, who is in his second year as a captain, and only his second game as a player-coach, is hoping the Falcons have a successful season so the team, along with Burke, will travel to Amherst to take place in the NIRSA Regional Club Basketball Tournament that is held at UMass.

"We want to put on a good showing for our college," Harrington said. "Hopefully we can make a name for ourselves and get into the tournament again this year after reaching the final four last season."

Jake Mendel can be reached at, @Jmendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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