Behind the Mask of the College Mascots

A Tale of Friendship, Romance and School Spirit
Dylan Ladner ’14 suits up as Rocky.

For Logan Pressley, a sophomore health and wellness major, taking on the role of UNC Asheville’s bobble-headed bulldog mascot, Rocky, was a calling. 

“Everyone knows Rocky,” Pressley said. “No matter if you’re an art student or an athlete or an engineer. You know Rocky.”

“Rocky is that person you strive to be,” he continued, “that happy person on campus who is driven to continue on the path to excellence.”

Pressley was sitting next to Dylan Ladner, a senior majoring in atmospheric sciences, at a Campus Recreation staff meeting when they both decided to share the responsibilities of playing the school’s beloved mascot.  

“We were all over that,” Ladner said. “Logan was the mascot for his high school, and I’m just the kind of person who doesn’t mind putting on a suit and acting ridiculous for everybody.”

It’s not as easy as it sounds. 

“Rocky is that person you strive to be—that happy person on campus who is driven to continue on the path to excellence.” —Logan Pressley ’16

“It’s definitely warm,” Pressley admits. “I’d say I get a full body workout. I’m in there for two hours, getting a leg workout dancing and everything. I love getting the exercise, even if it’s hot. I’m an athlete; it’s what I do.”

“The head and the feet are probably the most awkward part,” Ladner said. “The feet are pretty big; you put your shoe inside the insert, and then the insert inside the foot.” The oversized head and lack of peripheral vision can be challenging as well. 

Contending with the awkward suit posed a particular problem for Ladner, who planned to propose to his girlfriend during halftime at the Coastal Carolina basketball game. So he enlisted Pressley’s help. After coaxing Claire Anderson ’12, Ladner’s girlfriend of two and a half years, onto the court under the pretense of a halftime game of musical chairs, Ladner entered the court in full mascot costume.

“Logan had the ring in his pocket,” Ladner said. “I took that from him and got down on one knee, and he took the Rocky head off. And the rest is history.”

“It would have been incredibly awkward without Logan’s help,” Ladner said, noting Rocky’s lack of pockets. “I definitely needed him every step of the way.”

In case you’re wondering, she said yes. Who could refuse Rocky?