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Friday, September 22, 2023


Shasta unmasked: a day in the life of a college mascot

Shasta’s responsibilities include stirring up Cougar Pride at football, basketball games and other UH events. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

As a mascot, Shasta is a walking symbol of school spirit. If you have attended any UH events, chances are you have given Shasta a high five, or were the victim of one of his humorous pranks.

But the person behind the costume does contribute more to the UH community than just parading at games. Bryan Brown is the man behind the mask, he is also a pole vaulter for the track and field team. His accolades include qualifying for the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Regional Outdoor Meet. In 2009, he was the Outdoor Conference USA Champion, clearing more than 16 feet to win the gold.

The Daily Cougar caught up with Brown to talk about the juggling act of being Shasta and a student-athlete.

Q: How did you become Shasta?

A: I came to UH as a student-athlete. It was my sophomore year that I found out the last person who volunteered couldn’t end up doing it so I was like ‘sure I’ll try it’ — just to see how it goes. It’s stuck from then on.”

Q: Why did you decide to do it?

A: A lot of it is for fun. It’s a secret way I can cheer on my friends at every sporting event. We’re like a small community up here but it’s kind of like a big family. There’s 350 athletes so it’s a cool way to give back to the University in the easiest way I can. It also gives me the chance to mess with people sometimes.

Q: It can’t be a one-man job, is the other Shasta an athlete as well?

A: Last year I was the only one. Matt Stolt, a receiver here was Shasta before me. It would be cool to have a third generation of athletes to be Shasta. We’re going to hold some tryouts soon and maybe we can find another athlete. We have another guy in training, but he’s a student.

Q: What about Sasha?

A: Sasha has always been a regular student. There’s two of them also.

Q: What are your plans for the pole vault this season?

A: I’m redshirting the whole season and will compete unattached. I’ll get some more training in and see how that goes.

Q: When are your mascot duties over?

A: Next football season will be my last. I’ll be completely done with Shasta after that.

Q: So you won’t be pursuing a career in being a mascot?

A: If it leads to a full-time career, I’m definitely down for that. I know though I’ll probably have to get a full-time job to pay the bills.

Q: What is your plan for that?

A: I’m majoring in organizational leadership. I want to go back to grad school for sports administration. I would like to maybe become an athletic director one day. Maybe come back here and bring some Cougar pride.

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