Baylor University has a new mascot, and the man behind the mask is Lake Highlands High 2016 grad Sam Hotz. If that name sounds familiar, you may have known him as Willie, the LHHS mascot.
“Wilson was his full name,” says Hotz, “in honor of 1979 Lake Highlands alumni Stan Wilson, a fire fighter who died a hero.”
Hotz was also featured in a 2016 Advocate story about Boy Scouts.
“I tried out to be the mascot because being a Baylor bear has always been a big dream of mine. Being one of THE bears is just icing on the cake. The mascot team is a team of six and I am blessed to be a part of a group that loves the school and upholds the traditions as much as I do.”
Before being selected and choosing his mascot name – he’s Bruiser – Hotz had to find professors willing to vouch for him with recommendation letters as part of his application packet. He then auditioned, demonstrating the “goofy dancing” and characteristics he’ll need to perform at football and basketball games, community events, university fundraisers and other appearances. Finally, he had a group interview.
“I’m excited about all the fun trips that Bruiser takes to see awesome places I’ve never been,” says Hotz. “I am also excited about cheering for all things Baylor, because it is an awesome school.”
Baylor has been in the headlines in recent months, and the news hasn’t always been good. Hotz says that makes his job even more meaningful.
“Even with recent events in the news, I believe that the mascots can show everyone what Baylor is all about. Baylor is home to many people. We come from all walks of life but unite together in a loving and Christian community. I believe that mascots can show that despite the news, the Baylor community is still a community that is willing to work together to make a loving home for everyone. I can’t speak of past blemishes on the University. I know that going forward Baylor has an incredible future filled with bright promise. I am proud to be the character on the field and a man of character on the campus. Sic ‘Em Bears!”