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Athletics

The Demon Deacon

The Demon Deacon rides a custom-built motorcycle onto BB&T Field during football games.

What is a Demon Deacon?

Probably no aspect of Wake Forest athletics holds more fascination or lore than the nickname of the school's teams: the Demon Deacons.

In 1922, as the Deacons started recording wins on a regular basis, the existing nicknames of "Baptists" and "Old Gold and Black" did not seem to capture the spirit of Wake Forest athletics. When the Deacons pulled a particularly satisfying win off over rival Duke, sports editor Mayon Parker of Ahoskie searched for a new phrase to describe the "devilish" spirit that marked the athletic teams. He found that description in "Demon Deacon."

Wake Forest news director Henry Belk picked up Parker's new name for the Deacons and began using it in the school's news releases. Soon the name Demon Deacon had become a familiar term with all sports fans.

Still, until Jack Baldwin took up a fraternity brother's challenge in 1941, Wake Forest had a nickname but no figure to personify the spirit of the Demon Deacon. Baldwin led the Deacons on the field against North Carolina, dressed in top hat, tails and umbrella, riding the Carolina ram. While his fraternity brothers roared with laughter at the sight of him, no one realized that the Deacons would never play again without their Demon Deacon. The joke became an institution.

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