From Brooklyn, Now York, A senior, Chick won the national free exercise event in 1956 ... has shown his talent for singing, dancing, and acting as well as in gymnastics in Gynikana shows, Chick is also the present holder of the Mister Florida title, a physique contest ill be one of the most valuable point winners on this year’s team,
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY ’S SEMINOLE MASCOT PART II
First there was Dick and then there was Chick!
by Bruce A. Davis
When the Seminole Tribe of Florida agreed to allow Florida State University to continue the useof “Seminole” as their mascot name, it was not a whimsical decision . Bill Durham. a Ta!lahassee businessman of Cherokee bloodline, has gone to great lengths to create a program that FSU and the Seminoles could he proud of. Durham visited with the Seminoles and Chief Howard Tommie to produce an authentic Osceola dress uniform that is worn by a student who portrays Osceola. Riding the Appaloosa horse named Renegade to the center of the football field and thrusting a flaming spear into the ground. Male students applying for the job must have
past horseback riding skills and must have a 3.0 grade point average to he eligible for the job of carrying out the Seminole tradition at football games. It has been going on for nearly thirty years during the same time that Bobby Bowden has been head coach and amassed the most coaching football game wins in the NCAA program surpassing even Coach Joe Paterno of Penn State University.
The selected male students are taught to ride bareback while carrying a hca\y flaming spear, a feat which requires a specific form of athleticism. Other students, both male and female, who meet the same 3.0 CPA requirement along with four different veterinarians, take care of the horses. The horses have to he fed, sheltered, and administered health care on a regular basis. The horses need to he transported to and from home games and some away games. This is indeed, a large endeavor.
When Chick Cicio replaced Dick Gutting ( Florida State’s First Seminole Mascot) as the mascot. he was called “Sammie Seminole” and the name stuck.
Chick was an older college student of Italian descent from Brooklyn. New York who had previously served in the US Navy on the USS Intrepid CV-l I aircraft carrier. He always had to pull an Indian arm band up over his nice ly shaped biceps muscle to cover his navy anchor tattoo when he was getting ready to play Sammie Seminole and tumble onto the football field leading the team. Chick was very theatrical by nature which stuck with him all his life. Winning the 1956 NAAU Floor Exercise Championship, Chick would demonstrate the “Continental handstand” which was his trademark position skill as the national champion.
In New York at Boys High School, Chick participated in five different sports: football, baseball, track & field, swimming and diving and ‘Leadership Team.’ He took voice lessons with the beautiful Signora Inez Giglio who taught the ‘Bell-Conto’ system of singing.
Professionally as a vocalist, Chick performed with the Russ Hart Orchestra, the Five Shades of Blue, Cafe Society, the Paul Bryant Orchestra and the Michael Jay Orchestra.
Chick feels that gymnastics and music led him from a life as a factory worker to become a professional educator. Chick has his Bachelors degree from FSU and his Masters Degree from Western Carolina University.
As a professional educator, Chick taught for 39 years in Miami Dade high schools at North Miami Senior High School, Miami Springs Senior High School and American Senior High School.
Now retired and married for over fifty years to his wife Jennie. Chick performs on a regular basis at the Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts. While I was coaching gymnastics at Miami Dade, I would telephone Chick to come over for a dual meet. When he arrived I would ask him to sing the National Anthem for the meet. He would inform me that his throat was a little sore as he reached in his back pocket for his ever handy pitch note tuner. He would then proceed to sing the Star Spangled Banner perfectly!! I might also say that I coached many of his high school athletes on the college level. He is one heck of a coach and developer of men!
The Sammie Seminole tradition followed after Chick left FSU. Jack Ryder, 1961 NCAA Tumbling Champion and now deceased, became the second Sammie Seminole. Joe Greene, a transfer student from Dade Junior College where Gutting was now head gymnastics coach, became the third Sammie Seminole. Rick Miller followed Joe in 1963. Rick was followed by Bob Gramling in 1964 & 65. Barry Rowars was the last Sammie Seminole in 1966.
Dick and Chick along with gymnasts Bill Roetzheim, Hartley Price, Jamile Ashmore, Jack Miles and Don Holder have all been inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame.
Bruce A. Davis, Professor Emeritus Miami Dade College, Director of Flip Flops & Fitness gymnastics school of Apollo Beach.
Publisher of www.Letstalkgymnastics.com Can be contacted at: (813)641-3375 or Brucedavis56@verizon.net
Chick as "Sammie Seminole," he appears to be sitting on a bar and I am going out on a rail to say it is probably the cross bar to the goal post at the first FSU-Florida game in Gainsville. This future WebMaster was there, in the choice FSU student seats almost under the goal post. Chick climbed the goalpost, sat on the cross bar and the cheerleaders tossed him a French bread Alligator they had prepared. Chick waved it around a little before breaking it across his knee and then preceded to eat it. The U of F student seats almost exploded.