They're blue, they have Scottish roots, they're named after a pirate, and their glory days were a long time ago.
Of 15 current Big East schools, only seven are definitively named after animals: Bulls, Panthers, Wildcats, Huskies, Cardinals, Bearcats, and Golden Eagles. For the other eight, finding a theme extinct animal can be a bit of a challenge.
So today we meet the Blue Paul Terrier. This breed of canis familiaris originated in Scotland. As legend has it, the dogs were introduced to North America by the famous sailor John Paul Jones. The breed came about the way most dog breeds did in the 18th century; selective breeding for traits that would be good in dog fighting. Yup. This is also how bulldogs came about. Sports fans were more into genetics back then.
Unlike the annoying, yappy little terriers we have today, the Blue Paul was almost two feet tall, and 45 pounds of muscle. They were vicious and skilled fighters, and their stout bodies could take a lot of abuse. In fact, they were a little too good at their chosen sport; the popularity of dog fighting, and these dogs' level of showmanship at it, hastened the breed's demise. A rare case where "make love, not war" would have been helpful advice.
What does any of this have to do with Seton Hall? The dogs' and SHU team colors are both blue. John Paul Jones was called a pirate by the English. They have Scottish roots; Seton Hall's university crest has elements from Scottish nobility, by way of Elizabeth Ann Seton. They fought themselves and everyone else to the point of self-destruction, a perfect metaphor for the Bobby Gonzalez era. And they were pretty fearsome back in the day.
If you first started following college sports in the late 80s/early 90s, as I did, Seton Hall was college basketball royalty. Top 20 rankings, NCAA and Big East success, the awesome (and awesomely named) Terry Dehere, Andrew Gaze, and of course, the memorable 1989 final.
Of course, Seton Hall's glory days aren't completely extinct, and neither are these dogs. The traits of the Blue Paul Terrier continue to live on in similar breeds, and Seton Hall will try to recapture past glories in a new league. But it won't be quite the same.