A Career in Costume

Alumnus shares his journey from benchwarmer to NFL mascot

Andrew Johnson (B.B.A. '13) shares about his first time meeting KC Wolf, his job as TORO for the Houston Texans and what it's like inside the suit. 

Yours is not the typical journey from a bachelor's degree in marketing to a high-profile career. How did you end up there?

Johnson: My journey to become a professional mascot started when I was young. My parents were always pushing me to play sports, but most of my playing involved practical jokes and goofing around with my friends on the bench. I never would have imagined that my role as a benchwarmer would lead to a job in the National Football League.

When I was in the 5th grade, the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs came to visit my school in Lee's Summit, Missouri, to host an assembly program. As we funneled into the gymnasium, KC Wolf was running around keeping us entertained with his googly eyes and 85" hips. Under the costume was Dan Meers, who has been the mascot for the Chiefs for almost 30 years. He began the presentation by talking about his cool job and all of the cool things he'd done, places he had been and people he had met. I thought that he had the coolest job in the world. At the end, he asked for a volunteer to try the costume on. I raised my hand and was selected as the student that got to wear the KC Wolf costume. It was at that moment that I was inspired. You can probably imagine the expression on my parents' face when I raced home from school that day and told them what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

Read more on umkcalumni.com.

Published: Feb 19, 2019

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