The first rule of being the Weatherford College coyote mascot is simple — no talking.
“Coyotes don’t talk, so why would I talk,” current mascot and student Grant Mills said and laughed.
Mills has been the WC mascot since fall 2018. He goes to WC events, games and will take a stroll around campus in uniform to high five students. Mills has taken his job a step further by running an Instagram account for the coyote mascot, who is called Cody Coyote.
In fact, social media is how officials at the University of Texas-Arlington found out about Mills’ mascot work and encouraged him to audition as UTA’s mascot in May. The opportunity could mean a full ride to attend UTA, Mills said.
WC Cheerleading and Mascot Coach and Director Doug Jefferson said being UTA’s mascot would open up a lot of doors for Mills in terms of competition, being a professional mascot, community service and exposure.
Whether Mills gets the position at UTA depends on the competition, but Jefferson said Mills has what it takes. Jefferson called Mills a leader who is respectful and responsible.
“He loves what he’s doing,” Jefferson said. “Some people just do it for scholarship money; some do it for their advancement, like when they transfer, and I know he’s planning on doing that, but he does it because he loves it and that makes it easier for me.”
Mills signed up to be the mascot to spend more time with one of the cheerleaders, who is his girlfriend, he said. Mills said he tries to be a positive presence on campus as the mascot.
“I wanted to be a positive personality,” Mills said. “[People] saw the mascot, they knew what he’s about. They know that he’s positive. Whether your day was down, you had a good day.”
WC Public Relations Director Crystal Woerly worked with Mills on setting up the mascot Instagram page last fall. Woerly hopes the mascot-run social media presence can be the standard for future coyote mascots.
“What he was able to do on the Instagram page has been really phenomenal,” Woerly said. “He’s posted some really intriguing videos that I think have helped increase school spirit among his peers.”
As the mascot, Mills dances around, jokes with referees and the teams and entertains the crowd.
“That’s kind of the freedom of being the mascot,” Mills said. “You kind of get to be somebody you’re not.”
Mascots are supposed to boost the spirit and entertain crowds at games and events, Jefferson said. They can’t be lazy but involved and energetic.
Mills said he has to brush off bad days and negativity when he puts on the mascot uniform. One of the challenges he faces while being the coyote is the heat in the costume.
“Your body is just scorching,” Mills said. “You’re sweating, and it really is crazy. That probably is the biggest challenge is keeping character while going through that.”
Ultimately, Mills stays in character for the kids at games and events.
“I’ve gained a relationship with most of the kids that go there,” Mills said. “Most of them know me, and they don’t know me as a sad coyote.”
Entertaining the children especially is important for mascots because it makes the kids happy and mascots are a recruiting tool for the college, Jefferson said.
“If they don’t remember anything about Weatherford College, they’ll remember the mascot,” Jefferson said.