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SportNotre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot

12:25  18 april  2019
12:25  18 april  2019 Source:   indystar.com

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The Notre Dame leprechaun is the mascot of the University of Notre Dame ( Notre Dame ) Fighting Irish athletics department. It appears at athletic events, most notably at football games.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the athletic teams that represent the University of Notre Dame . The Fighting Irish participate in 23 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

For 54 years as the band has blared the "Victory March" and the storied magic of Notre Dame football has played out, a leprechaun has wielded a shillelagh — leading cheers, pumping up the blue and gold with a legendary superstition the spirited elf brings magical powers and good luck to team.

Known only as the Notre Dame leprechaun, he has always been a male.

Lynnette Wukie is not. And this season, she will be the first women to don the green suit and Irish persona of glee for Notre Dame.

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ESPN Host: Notre Dame 's Leprechaun Should be the Next Racist Mascot to Go. "Man Irish Americans are not offended, but many are," Kellerman said of the " fighting Irish " leprechaun logo and the green-clad mascot dancing around on the sidelines of the team's games.

Notre Dame 's lineup of leprechauns for 2019-20, announced by the school Wednesday, includes a female for the first time since the mascot was Wukie and Jackson become the second and third African Americans to be the iconic mascot most visible on sidelines during Fighting Irish football and

"Who says the Fighting Irish can't fight like a girl?" Wukie, a sophomore from Ohio, said in her video application. "My rector told me, 'Little girls are going to want to be you,' so to be that role model for young women is really special."

Notre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot© Provided by Gannett Co., Inc. Lynnette Wukie said she feels it was her destiny to be the first female leprechaun for Notre Dame. Wukie, along with two other leprechauns, were announced by the university's cheerleading program Tuesday for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. It is the most diverse roster of three since the leprechaun became the school's official mascot in 1965.

Samuel Jackson, along with Wukie, become the second and third African-American leprechauns. Mike Brown, who graduated in 2001, was the first.

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- The leprechaun has been the official mascot at the University of Notre Dame since 1965. For the first time, a woman will serve as one of the school’s three leprechauns , the South Bend School in Grafton, sent a video along with her application and asked the question, "Who says the Fighting Irish

Conal Fagan, a native of Derry, Northern Ireland, will enter his second season as the mascot and is the first native Irishman to play the part.

IndyStar made a request Wednesday to interview Wukie. Notre Dame's assistant athletic director Aaron Horvath said new leprechauns would not be available for phone or on camera interviews until the fall.

In the university's announcement of the three leprechauns, Wukie, who is majoring in film, television and theatre with minors in business economics and musical theatre, said she believed earning the spot was her "destiny."

Notre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot© Provided by University of Notre Dame Lynnette Wukie is the first female leprechaun for the University of Notre Dame.

"I talked about being a role model (during the tryout process) because even through high school and into college, it's always been important to me to be someone people can look up to," Wukie said. "I think I hadn't (yet) found that thing, like I wasn't fulfilling my true purpose here to be that face and that role model, so when this opportunity came about I thought it was destiny. This is what I'm meant to be doing."

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- The leprechaun has been the official mascot at the University of Notre Dame since 1965. Officials with Notre Dame ’s cheerleading program announced Tuesday that Lynette Wukie, who will School in Grafton, sent a video along with her application and asked the question, "Who says the Fighting Irish

The leprechaun mascot and the nickname of the “ Fighting Irish ” have been with the University of Notre Dame for the guts of a century but can it ESPN Host Max Kellerman claims the “ Fighting Irish ” is just as offensive as a nickname and mascot as Chief Wahoo or the Washington Redskins.

Wukie won her spot "thanks to her passionate outlook and dedication to leadership," the university said.

The former high school cheerleader played a role in developing the theme "Powerful women" for her Pasquerilla West dorm. As part of that, Wukie and her dorm mates set out to "empower every (woman) in the dorm to be proud of who she is" and have dedicated fund-raising efforts to charities supporting women.

Hilariously serious: The tryout process to be a Notre Dame leprechaun

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Landing the role

Before the leprechaun, Notre Dame once was represented by Irish terrier dogs. The first, named Tipperary Terrence was killed by a car. Tipperary Terrence II was presented to Knute Rockne during the weekend of the Notre Dame-Army game in 1924.

In 1965, the first leprechaun mascot took the field. Since then, every spring, Notre Dame students try out for three leprechaun spots. One is gold (first team), another blue (second team) and the last green (third team). Responsibilities are split among them.

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- The leprechaun has been the official mascot at the University of Notre Dame since 1965. Officials with Notre Dame ’s cheerleading program announced Tuesday that Lynette Wukie, who will School in Grafton, sent a video along with her application and asked the question, "Who says the Fighting Irish

Notre Dame will be making some athletics history this year on the sidelines. The school announced that sophomore student Lynette Wukie was one of three students selected to be the Fighting Irish 's leprechaun mascot for the The leprechaun became the official mascot of Notre Dame in 1965.

The gold leprechaun, for example, normally cheers at football and men’s basketball games, while the blue may go to women’s basketball or hockey. They all take part in community service and campus events. The university did not announce which spots Wukie, Jackson and Fagan would take.

When IndyStar covered the tryouts in 2018, 10 people judged the leprechaun candidates, including cheerleading coaches, former mascots and members of the athletic department.

Those auditioning have to meet certain requirements, according to Notre Dame head cheerleading coach Delayna Herndon. They must be comfortable public speakers, ambassadors for the university, poised and high-energy.

Four portions of the tryout are open to the public: a mock pep rally, media questions, a two-minute impromptu skit and a pushup contest. Candidates then face a closed interview with the judges. The students must also submit a resume, letter of recommendation, personal statement and video explaining why they want to be a Notre Dame leprechaun.

“Are they natural leading a crowd and how do they react to things on their feet?” Herndon told lIndyStar last year. “You have to think quick. We have so many different kinds of pep rallies. One week you could be in the basement of a church, the next you could be on a stage in front of hundreds of people. They have to be able to fill time when somebody says, ‘Hey, here’s a mic, go.’”

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The Leprechaun is the feisty mascot of Notre Dame 's Fighting Irish sports teams. He brings good luck and is ready to battle anything that comes his way. What most people don’t know is that there was a briefly lived fourth mascot named Pow, who represented the nutritional value of the cereal.

Meet her fellow leprechauns

Notre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot© Provided by University of Notre Dame Samuel Jackson (pictured) and Lynnette Wukie are the second and third African American students to play the Notre Dame leprechaun.

Samuel Jackson

Double majoring in film, television and theatre and American studies, Jackson excelled in eliciting crowd participation during his tryout with performance credentials that run deep, the university said. The junior has participated in nine theatrical productions at Notre Dame and studied at The School at Steppenwolf in Chicago during the summer.

An Alabama native, Jackson credits Brown — who is now the regional director for Athletics Advancement — with his interest in trying out for the leprechaun role.

"It's a really amazing feeling," Jackson said in the university's announcement. "When I first came here, I was a big Notre Dame fan, but I didn't have the history or legacy that my friends did. Being able to make my own experiences and memories here at this University and to be able to represent it is just the best feeling. I feel like I have solidified my presence and voice, and am now etching it into the very fabric of the University."

Conal Fagan

It's the second time around for Fagan, who earned a leprechaun spot last season. The sophomore, a political science and peace studies major with a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship, helped cheer for a wide variety of Irish sports. He recently went with the women's basketball program to the Final Four.

Growing up, Fagan participated in soccer for Northern Ireland's national program and competed in cross country and Gaelic football. As a freshman, he walked on to the Irish men's soccer team before earning the leprechaun gig.

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the varsity sports teams of the University of Notre Dame . Notre Dame is one of only 15 universities in the United States that plays Division I FBS football and The school colors are Blue and Gold and the mascot is the Leprechaun . more on Wikipedia.

Notre Dame 's leprechaun mascot celebrates with football players following a win in 2016. Kellerman made the comments on ESPN's morning debate show " First Take," which he co-hosts with Stephen A. Smith. According to Notre Dame 's official website, " Fighting Irish " was adopted as the

"I'm really honored to be back," Fagan said in the university's announcment. "When I first took up the leprechaun role, I didn't know how much I would be excited by it and invested in it because back home mascots and cheerleading isn't really a thing. Coming here and experiencing it first hand is such a special thing to me and I think people can see that as well. Every time I put the suit on, it feels like I'm Superman or something, so it's pretty special."

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via e-mail: [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Notre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish picks first female leprechaun mascot

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