The cheer team, Charlie Coyote and the dance program are all part of the Spirit Squad organized by Brooke Poppe, the new coordinator of spirit teams and programming. Poppe started in this new position last Thursday, and said she accepted the position because it offered the most pride for students.
“With the basketball team doing so well, I got to see the teams in action and so I think that something that brought my interest to USD was the pride that everyone has in the program, within the school (and) within the community,” Poppe said. “I think everything that is being done is awesome and I think (USD) has awesome traditions that we’ll just build on.”
Poppe said the most important aspect of Spirit Squad is fan engagement.
“I think it’s an opportunity for fan engagement,” Poppe said. “The Spirit Squad and Charlie are there to provide those in-game moments and build the atmosphere so that the teams can feel that sense of urgency as well as interacting with alumni and creating the brand that is already there and executing that well.”
Poppe said she’s excited to learn and prepare for the fall semester.
“I’m excited to learn. I’m just in the early stages of starting and I have a lot of questions and a lot of things to catch up on and I’m eager to do that and kind-of getting the ball rolling for the fall.”
With Charlie Coyote being the face of the university, Kim Grieve, dean of students and vice president of student affairs said that having a well-known mascot is important.
“Faces at universities change, faces in athletics change but Charlie is the one thing that’s always there,” Grieve said. “Charlie the Coyote is the face of the university and athletics because he’s consistent.”
If a student also chooses to be Charlie Coyote, there are numerous benefits such as a half housing scholarship, paid travel expenses, paid wages and Summit League and Missouri Valley conference experience.
Charlie Coyote’s main job is to entertain at athletic events and community events as well as connect with students and community members. Grieve said if individuals want to request Charlie Coyote for an event, a request form and payment are required. The form goes to Poppe.
“People go on and request him for a community event or for a campus event,” Grieve said. “Sometimes for a foundation event as well. Let us know when, the time, the date, and then we just make sure Charlie is available and at the event.”
Grieve said being Charlie Coyote is “hard work,” and that the university appreciates the work that goes into being the mascot. Charlie Coyote is usually reserved for five to six events in a month, Grieve said.
“If you commit to be a Charlie, we need to make sure that you have lots of time available and that you’re willing to sign up and be there for events,” Grieve said. “Oftentimes it would be hard to work many hours, so we want to make sure there are some benefits and that they know that we really appreciate all the work that they’re doing and we recognize it’s hard work to be Charlie.”
Erayna Lister, a senior addiction studies major and captain of the cheer team, said being Charlie Coyote is a good way to represent the university.
“He livens everything up a little bit by just joking around as Charlie or just interacting with the crowd, I feel like he ups the atmosphere a little bit,” Lister said.
Lister said there’s always a very talented person being Charlie.
“I feel like you never hear about other mascots in the area. But I always feel like you’re hearing about Charlie Coyote,” Lister said. “He’s really fun, interacts with the crowd, never gets in too much trouble.”