EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday night lights — it’s life across the Valley come fall. No place around the Valley has a mascot quite as unique as the East Liverpool Potters. It’s being celebrated during this year’s all-class reunion.
Most schools around the Valley have your typical mascot, lions, tigers, the list goes on.
East Liverpool used to be the pottery capital of the world, so it’s only fitting theirs is a pottery kiln.
Potter Pete is celebrating his 60th anniversary this year. How he came to be is just as unique as he is.
Patterson Field is quiet now, so is Potter Pete. But during football season, this pottery kiln fires up the crowd, quite literally. Sixty years ago, it was a pretty different story.
“The school really didn’t have a mascot,” said Bob Duffy, class of 1953.
In 1962, Duffy was the sports editor for the Review. He remembers the day his former classmate and good friend Joe “Joe Joe” McCormack stopped by to see him with a drawing he made while working in the art department of Taylor Smith Pottery.
“He shows me this design and I’m like, that’s really good, you know, unique,” Duffy said.
Duffy says the idea took off from there. Once the school’s head football coach at the time, Bob Headman, saw it, Potter Pete was it.
Amy McCormack is Joe Joe’s daughter. Her family made sure to keep her dad’s early drawings of Potter Pete. It has changed over the years, but the heart of it is still the same.
“I was always just so proud that my dad was the designer. I think that I did become more aware of the value of it all until I got older and more nostalgic,” Amy said.
During this year’s all-class reunion, Potter Pete is being celebrated. You’ll find flyers spread out across the city honoring the beloved mascot.
Amy says her dad never put a patent on his drawing and her family often worried he would be forgotten as the creator of the original Potter Pete.
“I think it’s important for it to be in the history books so that all of the generations come after all of us, they know that it was Jo Jo McCormack that designed Potter Pete,” Amy said.
It’s something Amy is so proud of.
“This particular event brings up a lot for me and I know if he were here, he would love it because he loved East Liverpool. He loved the Potters,” Amy said. “It touches my heart.”