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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


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    Mascots Wilbur, Wilma worthy of recognition too

    To the editor, regarding the March 9 article “”Seniors depart with style””: Senior Day coverage is never complete without recognizing two of the most overlooked MVPs in the Arizona Athletics – the mascots.

    For those who attended that weekend’s basketball game, fans got to finally meet the two students who have played Wilbur and Wilma over the last two years. For the rest of you who were unable to attend, let me give you the scoop and a little info about the pair. Dan McKee and Kathryn Wright were revealed as the student mascots. They have played the school’s most notable couple since they landed the jobs back in the spring of 2007, and have sweat off about five pounds of water weight each game for your entertainment.

    What makes this job unique to the school is that the identity is largely a secret, meaning that it is largely a thankless job. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, consider some of the trials and tribulations our school mascots have had to endure over the last 50 years. In 1994, Devin Elliott was attacked by the Arkansas Razorback and blew out his knee while in costume as Wilbur. In the 1998 Holiday Bowl, Jodie Coleman nearly drowned when she walked off the navy pier in San Diego and plummeted 20 feet into the ocean while attempting to wave to a little girl who wanted her attention. In 1996 an APB was broadcast citywide in search of Wilbur’s fur costume that was stolen out of the Arizona-Sonora laundry room where the student was washing his fur, only to find it dumped in the Coronado elevator several days later.

    Even Wilbur’s first game in 1959 was not without controversy when he was almost expelled from the university, both as student and mascot, when Texas Tech complained that he insinuated their football team was a bunch of drunks. In addition to these great moments, they have endured years of having their tails pulled off, angered fans throwing bottles or food items at their heads, fans groping their body parts as they crowd surfed, bumps and bruises, sprained ankles, slipping on hot dogs, ear and eye infections, and physical therapy to recover from injuries sustained from attempting to achieve the impossible task of doing one-handed pushups for every point scored during a football game. For those keeping count, we’re talking one-armers well into the hundreds on a given night, all for the sake of the team.

    In their spare time when they’re not at an athletic event, you will find them spending their free time attending Reading Day at an elementary school, attending events for cub scouts, girl scouts, silent auctions, the local fast food chain grand opening, weddings, bar mitzvahs, 50th Anniversary parties, nursing home beauty pageants, Habitat for Humanity home building projects, and a host of local television commercials advertising everything from popcorn to sofas. And they do it because they love it.

    It truly takes special people to do this job and I wanted to make sure this senior day coverage was complete by recognizing these two. Dan and Kathryn, you did great and have shown yourselves worthy to represent our school and will join a long line of alumni that have kept this tradition alive for the last 50 years. Bear Down and thanks.

    Kirk Sibley

    1999 alumnus

    UA should hang on to interim coach Pennell

    I have been a Wildcat basketball fan since 1983 and it is my opinion that we should keep Russ Pennell as head coach. If you’re in doubt, ask Lute.

    Has anyone taken into consideration the fact that the UA could also save a bunch of money by keeping Russ? Also consider the smoother transformation that would take place next year – the Wildcats would not have to start from scratch. Keeping Mike Dunlap and Reggie Geary would also be a big help. Let’s not forget they had a lot to do with the Cats’ success.

    Our team and Russ have had a lot of exposure on national TV, so that in itself would be beneficial to recruiting for next year: a more advantageous scenario than Lute had the first several years.

    Stephan Meyer

    Tucson resident

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