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Ace Purple

A drawing of Ace Purple.

Ace Purple is the official mascot for the Evansville Purple Aces.


In the late 1960s, Evansville Press artist Larry Hill created Ace Purple, UE's mascot. Ace Purple was created in the image of a turn-of-the-century riverboat gambler, representing Evansville's location on the banks of the Ohio River. But Ace Purple also brandished a club with a spike through one end and carried a gun, and his sneer made him a less than likable character. The University was not pleased overall, so Ace Purple soon vanished.

In 1977, when Evansville moved to Division I, first-year sports information director Greg Knipping saw the need for a team mascot. He contacted Keith Butz, who had recently revamped Purdue's Boilermaker Pete. Butz turned Ace Purple into the more likable character we know today, and Knipping convinced the administration that despite the gambling image portrayed by Ace Purple, his qualities of cunning, daring, quick wit and shrewd judgment made him an outstanding representative of the Purple Aces. Knipping, responsible in large part for the Ace Purple we know today, was killed along with the University of Evansville basketball team in the Dec. 13, 1977 plane crash.


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