The most recognizable character at Bright House Networks Stadium can't be found in a jersey or cleats. Wielding a sword, shield and jingly set of keys, his unknown face is kept secret behind a golden helmet.
Part of UCF's Spirit Team, Knightro is looking for new Knights worthy of his gleaming suit of armor. Tryouts for the UCF mascot will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Burnett Honors College. Those interested are also required to attend a tryout meeting Friday at 5 p.m.
Although the identities of students who play Knightro are kept hidden, the position comes with some perks — aside from blazing around the stadium on a scooter. Spirit Team members have access to scholarships, priority class registration, free tickets to every game and away game travel.
Currently, Team Knightro is made up of eight students all working together to make sure Knightro is out and about as much as possible on and off campus.
The mascot coach Mike Callahan — who was a Knightro himself when he was an undergrad — puts the Knightro candidates through their paces at tryouts. They start with learning how to put on the costume, then they go into role-play scenarios wearing the boots and helmet and they finish up with a skit that students have a chance to plan out. After that skit, Callahan makes his decisions.
"I'm looking for someone that can quickly think on their feet, someone that is a team player," Callahan, a member of Team Knightro from 2002 to 2004, said in a previous interview with the Central Florida Future. "[We're] looking for someone who is school spirited and who is willing to work as hard as I did when I was in the costume."
Over the course of a year, aside from university-sponsored sporting events, Knightro will appear at more than 150 non-athletic events, which can be anything from a book fair at a local elementary school to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to a wedding.
"As Knightro, that instant celebrity status is something that lives with you forever," Callahan said. "Nobody knew Michael Callahan; all 60,000 people knew Knightro."
Caroline Glenn is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @bycarolineglenn or email her at CarolineGCentralFloridaFuture.com.
Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamRCentralFloridaFuture.com.