Patrick Sheehan (CAS ’81) embodied Hoya spirit. As Georgetown’s first costumed mascot, he entertained crowds at basketball games during his four years on campus as a human-sized Jack the Bulldog.
Sheehan, 54, died in a car crash Saturday when the town car he was riding in was hit by an SUV on Hudson River Parkway in the Bronx, N.Y. The car’s driver, Ata Noorzi, 51, also died in the crash.
Sheehan, who was a managing director for public finance at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York, was instrumental in establishing the mascot tradition now visible at every sporting and spirit event. He is remembered as a fun-loving friend who always entertained those around him.
“Pat lights up the room when he walks in,” said Paolo Clemente (GSB ’81), who was friends with Sheehan at Georgetown. “Always a smile on his face, very interested in you. Always makes you feel warm and loved.”
Associate Athletics Director for Operations and Facilities Brian McGuire (CAS ’72) was part of the Alumni Association group that chose Sheehan as mascot during his freshman year in 1977 – a position that replaced the role of the live bulldog, which was absent from campus from 1977 to 1999.
Sheehan stood out at the time because of his clear commitment to staying in the mascot role for four years and his lively personality, McGuire said.
“We put the head on him, we made him do some things … and he was great,” McGuire said. “Without a doubt, he stood above all the others as far as acting like what we wanted the mascot to act like.”
It was quickly clear that McGuire had selected the right student for the position.
“He was the perfect choice, and we just got really lucky with him, because we’d never had a costumed mascot before him,” McGuire said. “And he was perfect at it. We were
really happy all four years.”
Shawn Feeney (GSB ’81), who held a work-study position in McGuire’s office with Sheehan, became close to the mascot pioneer.
“The thing anyone who knew Pat would enjoy is when you had a long bus ride … Pat would have a captive audience and would just have us laughing, in tears, because of his comedic talents,” Feeney said.
Sheehan’s antics during games were full of enthusiasm, and the crowd adored him, both Feeney and McGuire said.
McGuire remembered the Big East tournament two years after the conference’s establishment in 1979 where four alumni posing as mascots infiltrated the Syracuse game and joined Sheehan on the floor of the Carrier Dome, spelling out “Hoyas.”
“Each was a letter. And they cheered every timeout for a whole half until someone finally realized, ‘Hey, Georgetown doesn’t have five different costumed mascots,’ and they finally kicked the rest out, but that was great,” McGuire said.
Feeney described Sheehan’s theatrics on the court, telling the story of a time he and another mascot tussled.
“As a bulldog, you kind of have your moves,” Feeney said, laughing. “We think [Sheehan] raised his hind leg at one point to simulate relieving himself on the husky. … That was one of Pat’s classic moves on other mascots.”
The two mascots were dragged off the court until the athletic director decided the husky had started the fight and allowed Sheehan to return to cheers from the crowd.
Sheehan’s experience at basketball games was before the advent of the Jumbotron, which meant near-constant entertainment was expected from the mascot and cheerleaders during timeouts at McDonough Arena, where the Hoyas played before moving to the Capital Centre in Landover, Md, in 1981. His tenure as mascot also coincided with the early years of John Thompson Jr., who was hired in 1972, five years before Sheehan donned the bulldog suit.
“Nowadays, on TV timeouts, you’ve got these very canned pitches. Let’s find people and have them kiss, or let’s do a trivia contest. Back then, there weren’t those. The TV timeout was a two-minute opportunity for the cheerleaders – but more importantly, the mascots – to just entertain the crowd,” Feeney said. “We didn’t need a Jumbotron at McDonough, because Pat was going to fill the void by just being a character for those timeouts.”
In addition to entertaining McDonough, Sheehan traveled to all away games with the team.
“I tell everybody, even bulldogs now, that Pat Sheehan really set the standard for bulldogs, for mascots,” McGuire said. “He was really good at it. It was natural to him. He had a great personality, and he could emote without speaking. He could relate to all the people.”
“It was like he was born to be the bulldog,” Feeney added.
Sheehan’s excellence in the mascot role for four years set a high precedent for the next in line, who was chosen by a four-person committee.
“They literally went through auditions – big, long auditions – with 50 or 60 kids before we selected them,” McGuire said. That committee eventually chose Lloyd Williams (CAS ’84) as Sheehan’s successor.
Williams tried out for the bulldog role after being encouraged by his friends and seeing ads in The Hoya and the Voice, and he remembered seeing Sheehan around campus when Sheehan was a senior and Williams was a freshman.
“He was the total original,” Williams said. “With his personality, he could have done it without the costume, the crazy, quirky, positive, energetic type of guy he was.”
Sheehan’s legacy followed Williams after he became the mascot.
“People used to come up to me – particularly my first year, but all three years it happened at least once – there’d be a guy who’d come up, look right at me and say, ‘Sheehan was a much better bulldog than you,’ and they were probably right,” Williams said. “He was just a very unique guy, and he really made a great tradition at Georgetown.”
In addition to his success on the court, Sheehan was just as ebullient in his everyday life.
“If you went on a trip with Pat, a car trip, if he found something interesting, like a 50-mile detour to see the world’s largest bowl of twine, that was the kind of thing Pat would do,” Feeney said. “He had this joy of life.”
This adventurous spirit was supplemented by his sentimentality. Sheehan often sent postcards from the various places he visited, always keeping stamps in his wallet in case the opportunity to use them arose.
Feeney said that the large size of a Georgetown class could make it hard for people to have a tangible effect on their class as a whole, but that Sheehan accomplished it.
“What impact can one member of the class have on creating that sense of community?” Feeney asked. “I can tell you, Pat proves to me that one person can make a difference. His impact on my class, the Class of ’81, was profound. We were proud when he was on the court, he created this sense of pride in the university, he made basketball games fun.”
“We’ve had other alumni who’ve died before their prime, but his loss is striking our particular class so much because he was the life of our class,” he added.
After graduating, Sheehan had a 26-year career in the finance industry, starting at Lehman Brothers in 1991. He moved to JPMorgan Chase in 1994 before moving to Citigroup in 2003. Sheehan joined Wells Fargo in June 2010 where he specialized in not-for-profit health care clients.
At the season kickoff basketball game at Verizon Center on Wednesday, there was a moment of silence for both Sheehan and Bill Shapland (CAS ’77), the sports information director who died in April. Sheehan’s funeral took place Thursday in Larchmont, N.Y., for which McGuire sent a mascot costume to the family at their request.
Sheehan is survived by his wife, Rebecca, and three sons, George, 21, Thaddeus, 19, and Nathanial, 15. George is a junior in the College.
Sheehan stayed involved with Georgetown after graduation and took his children to a Hoya basketball game in 2004. At the game, he took a photo with his mascot successor.
“He lived and breathed the Hoya spirit,” Clemente said. “He will be always our bulldog.” 

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