Local News

UNC mascot's keeper dies after fall from tractor

Posted October 8, 2010 10:21 a.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2010 3:40 p.m. EDT

— Rob Hogan, a Carrboro farmer whose family has cared for generations of rams that have been mascots for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has died after a fall from his tractor.

UNC Hospitals officials said that Hogan, 54, died Friday morning.

"Rob Hogan, the love of my life and my guiding star, passed away this morning at 7:40 this morning," his wife Ann Leonard wrote on a CaringBridge.com page. "May he be at peace. We will miss him."

Hogan fell Sept. 15 as he stepped off his tractor. He woke the next morning unable to move his left leg, according to his family.

He developed a condition in which damaged muscle tissue dies and releases toxins to the kidneys.

Hogan's grandfather started the tradition of painting the horns of a male Dorset sheep in UNC's school color in 1924 to serve as a mascot, named Rameses, at athletic games. Hogan and Rameses XVIII were fixtures on the sidelines at UNC games.

Because of Hogan's illness, Rameses didn't make it to UNC's first two home games. Other family members had been planning to bring Rameses to the Clemson game on Saturday.

“We’re hoping they can bring him back out as soon as they’re ready to,” Associate Athletics Director Rick Steinbacher said in a statement. “We will welcome them with open arms, but it’s not a rush."