A True Mascot Story

Denton, Texas – He is, most certainly, the only member of the FAU cheer squad with feathers. If you’ve ever been to an FAU football or basketball game, you have surely seen him perform, just as he did this weekend at the University of North Texas. But, I bet you didn’t know that Owlsley the Owl got his start as a rodent. Confused? Allow me to explain. FAU athletic director and father of six, Craig Angelos, was at Chuck E. Cheese’s in West Boca for a birthday party. That day, a young man saw Angelos wearing an FAU shirt and asked if he was a fan of Owls football. The two got to talking, the young man found out who Angelos was and Angelos found out that the young man was Chuck E. Cheese. Later, all dressed up in full rat regalia, the young man gave the best performance of his career. Angelos was impressed.”That’s my next Owl!” Angelos said.Owlsley was the only Owl at tryouts for the official position of FAU mascot. There isn’t that high of a demand amongst FAU students to be inside a stifling hot suit with limited visibility while having to perform in front of hostile crowds on the road. Other universities hold extensive competitions to find the student that best embodies the spirit of the school through the artistic majesty of mascotting. At FAU, Owlsley got the job by default, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take it seriously.”You must be committed and passionate to be good at this,” Owlsley said. “You have to have creativity as well as high energy. And you have to be able to handle the heat. You must act, dance and must be good with kids. Owlsley loves kids, they are his biggest fans.”Owlsley doesn’t let the intense temperature affect his performance. “The number one question I get asked is: ‘You have to be hot, are you hot?’ What a stupid question, No Duh! It’s ten or twenty degrees hotter for me than it is outside.” And it was hot on Saturday, as the game began in 90 degree heat, under a big, blue Texas sky. Owlsley, of course, is up-to-date on all the latest and classic dances including the Soldier Boy, the YMCA, Chicken Noodle Soup, Cupid Shuffle and ‘Lean-With-it-Rock-With-it’. To stay current, he studies the dances on music videos and practices whenever he gets a chance.His favorite dance: “I am a bird…the chicken dance, hello?!”And talk about dedication. Owlsley paid his own way to mascot camp over the summer. He went to the University of Alabama for a weekend and received an award for most improved. Many giants of the collegiate costumed world were there like Mike the Tiger from Louisiana State University, Big Al from Alabama, The Ragin’ Cajun from Lafayette, Bullie the Bulldog from Mississippi State, as well as Albert and Alberta from University of Florida.Owlsley is currently preparing to enter the Capital One mascot challenge. He wants to be on television commercials and ESPN’s College Gameday. He wants to be a symbol of FAU around the country.”He is great, we love his enthusiasm,” FAU Student Government Senator Jared Torres said, who made the trip to Denton along with the PrOWLers, an FAU spirit group sponsored by SG.Owlsley can be found at all football and men’s basketball games at FAU. He will show up at a birthday party or baseball game from time-to-time. In his free time, he still works at Chuck E Cheese’s as the show-rat himself.Against North Texas, in front of roughly 20,000 green-clad meanies and only a handful of FAU supporters, Owlsley did some of his best work. He danced, he twirled and he mildly antagonized the largest crowd ever to witness a Sun Belt Conference game at Fouts Field. Owlsley was pumped post-game after participating in the Owls stunning comeback win from a two-touchdown deficit. He even had a friendly dance-off with North Texas’ Mean Green Eagle.”This was a game of mutual respect between the mascots,” Owlsley said.