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Friday, April 23, 2004
New Mexico considering live wolf as mascot

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE -- The University of New Mexico's athletic department is considering using a live silver wolf as a mascot to rev up fans during next season's home football games.

Joe Weiss, an assistant athletic director, said the department will have to consider a number of issues, including safety, before a decision is made.

"There are a lot of things we would need to look at, primarily safety -- the animal's safety and the fans' safety," Weiss said.

The 2-year-old silver wolf, which belongs to a UNM professor, made its debut during the team's Cherry-Silver spring football scrimmage on April 10.

"It's something we've talked about as a staff that would be neat for fan entertainment," Weiss said. "We brought it out for the spring game just to see what would happen. It was on the (northeast) concourse, just kind of meeting and greeting people, if a wolf can actually meet and greet. And the trial run went very well."

The Lobos experimented with a live mascot in the past, Weiss said.

During an Oct. 28, 1989 home loss to Wyoming, All-American wide receiver Terance Mathis said he was nipped by the wolf after throwing a block and rolling out of bounds. Mathis wasn't hurt, but he was quoted as saying at the time, "He sure scared me. I've got tooth marks in my pants."

Weiss said coach Rocky Long and athletic director Rudy Davalos would ultimately determine this wolf's fate as a mascot.