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College Football

Woman to be Notre Dame’s leprechaun mascot for first time ever

Notre Dame has confirmed that for the first time in the university’s long and storied sports program history, a woman will handle leprechaun mascot duties during the 2019-20 school year.

Lynnette Wukie, a soon-to-be junior majoring in film, television and theatre, has been tabbed to be the iconic mascot at various sports events, including football and men’s and women’s college basketball, as well as other official appearances.

Wukie will share the leprechaun mascot duties with Samuel Jackson and Conal Fagan, who will be a junior and sophomore in the coming school year, respectively.

“We’re so excited to welcome Sam, Conal and Lynnette as next year’s leprechauns,” head cheerleading coach Delayna Herndon said in a statement. “Each bring their own strengths and personalities to the role, and I’m excited to see them represent Notre Dame on the sidelines next season. As such a visible representative of Notre Dame, the leprechaun is a role model to fans across the country, and we hope this group can inspire people of all backgrounds to see themselves as a vital part of the Notre Dame family.”

Students assuming the role of the iconic leprechaun mascot have been predominantly white males going back to when the mascot was officially introduced in 1965. Both Wukie and Fagan, however, are African-American. They join Mike Brown, who became the first African-American student to play the leprechaun mascot in 1999.

In a video application that ultimately led to her making history by landing the coveted leprechaun mascot role, Wukie asked, “Who says the Fighting Irish can’t fight like a girl?”