Northern Illinois’ High-Fiving Husky Mascot Set to Retire After Nine Seasons on Sideline (GIF)

“Diesel,” the Northern Illinois mascot famous for handing out high-fives on the sidelines, is hanging up the collar.

The MAC powerhouse announced Tuesday that the husky dog, who has been with the football team for the last nine years, is retiring at the end of the season. Diesel will be honored during Senior Day festivities prior to the team’s home finale against Western Michigan on Tuesday, after which he will be granted “mascot emeritus” status.

“In many ways, Diesel has become the face of Huskie football over the past nine years,” athletic director Sean Frazier said in a statement. “He’s been the constant figure on the sidelines representing NIU, whether home or away, at bowl games, spring games and more. He’s a fan favorite, the TV cameras love him and he’s a great dog. On behalf of Huskie Nation, I want to thank [owner] Tom [Bonnevier] and Diesel for everything they have done to represent Northern Illinois University.”

A 2-year-old Siberian husky named “Mission” is set to follow in Diesel’s footsteps.

Hopefully, though, they’ll let the canine hold on to his current position for a few more games. Barring an upset loss either to the Broncos on Tuesday or in next week’s MAC Championship Game, the undefeated Huskies are likely headed to the BCS for the second straight season.

And that occasion would certainly call for some high-fives.

northern illinois mascot

Thanks to Guyism for the GIF.