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New ND mascot selected

Peter Leahy | Monday, April 18, 2005

Dillon junior Kyle Cham-berlin was announced Saturday as the new Gold squad Leprechaun mascot. Chamberlin will perform at the football and men’s basketball games, among other events. The results of the tryouts were posted at 11 a.m. outside of Gate 3 at the Joyce Center.Dillon sophomore Kevin Braun will serve as the Blue squad Leprechaun at soccer, volleyball and women’s basketball games and various community events. Approximately 100 students gathered Friday to support the remaining six candidates for the final tryouts, which took place in the underground gym, The Pit, in the Joyce Center. Supporters held signs, wore T-shirts and yelled raucously for their favorite candidates as the grueling tryouts took place.Many students felt it was important to show support at such an event, as the mascot is an important part of Notre Dame tradition.”It’s one of the biggest honors a student can have,” sophomore Sebastian Lara said.Over the span of 90 minutes, six men with aspirations of becoming public symbols of Notre Dame were challenged to a variety of tasks. Braun, Chamberlin, John Corker, Eddie Lerum, Je’Rell Rogers and Eric Wallace entered the proceedings with high hopes. The panel of judges was composed of members from Student Activities, Academic Services, the Alumni Office, the Athletic Department Compliance Department, the President’s Office, the Men’s Basketball Office and Student Development, a super-fan from campus, a past leprechaun and the cheerleading coaching staff.The candidates’ first test was to open a pep rally. From the start, each candidate demonstrated his individual style. Wallace ran back and forth near the audience, emphatically pumping his fists to entice the crowd. Corker also emphasized crowd involvement, breakdancing with members of the audience.Braun was more reserved, relying on his ideas more than his emotion. He said he wanted to bring back a tradition from Notre Dame football head coach Charlie Weis’ era as a student at basketball games – students begin chanting “Here come the Irish” 10 minutes before tip off and continue until game time.When Rogers came out, supporters raised a “We love Je’rell” sign. He used a chanting method to go back and forth in cheer with the audience, alternating a command and a response from the audience. Chamberlin performed next and gave his rendition of a 25-second summary of the moments leading up to a Notre Dame football game, which was well-received and comical to spectators. Chants of, “We love Eddie” could be heard when current varsity leprechaun Eddie Lerum entered the arena. He gave a typical approach to the rally, demeaning our opponents.”Oh yeah, we spanked them,” he said in reference to the outcome of the football team’s run-in with the Michigan Wolverines football team last year.Each candidate was then given two scenarios by a mediator and asked how he would respond. After each question, the candidates had 30 seconds to formulate their answer and reply to the audience.The candidates then had a push-ups contest and performed the Irish jig. Rogers took the title in the pushups contest, doubling the pace of all the other candidates and winning the race to fifty.Candidates next introduced themselves and took questions specific to the upcoming football season. Among the subjects of inquiry was the 1812 overture played before entering the fourth quarter of home football games.Candidates were also asked how they would salute Weis. Most responded that they would continue making the ‘W’ with their fingers, although some proposed a ‘C.’ Current leprechaun Eddie Lerum went as far as to suggest that students make a ‘C’ on one hand and a ‘W’ on the other. Other questions included how the candidates would pump up the crowd before games with tough opponents like USC.After watching the tryouts, many members of the audience had chosen their favorite prospective leprechaun.”I would pick Kevin Braun and Kyle [Chamberlin],” sophomore Thomas McCall said. “Kevin Braun had the most spirit.”O’Neil freshman Kevin Mushell felt the energy exhibited by the candidates was most important.”Je’Rell [Rogers] and Kyle [Chamberlin],” Mushell said. “[Rogers] brings a lot more energy.”In the end, this energy was not enough to land Je’Rell one of the two exclusive leprechaun positions, though he did earn a spot as an alternative cheerleader.