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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

A recent graduate shares about life as a SuperFrog

Aidan+Cottrell%2C+Class+of+2023%2C+graduates+wearing+the+SuperFrog+head.+%28Photo+provided+by+Aidan+Cottrell%29
Aidan Cottrell, Class of 2023, graduates wearing the SuperFrog head. (Photo provided by Aidan Cottrell)

Every year, six to eight students wear the SuperFrog suit at football games, TCU events and weddings, providing TCU fans with lasting memories and one SuperFrog fulfillment.

SuperFrog is widely regarded as the face of TCU. According to TCU archives, “Addie the All-American Frog” debuted as TCU’s mascot in 1949 and became SuperFrog in 1979. It wasn’t until 1999 that the mascot underwent a more modern transformation into the SuperFrog TCU students now know and love.

The majority of the TCU population doesn’t know much about the life inside the muscular foam suit because of the importance of secrecy for those students who appear as SuperFrog at TCU and around the country.

Aidan Cottrell. (Photo provided by Aidan Cottrell)

“The only real need-to-know is cheer coaches, the spirit coordinator and select cheerleaders or Showgirls because they happen to be at the same place at the same time,” said Aidan Cottrell, a TCU 2023 graduate. “Otherwise, it’s very hush-hush.”

Cottrell attended SuperFrog tryouts in April 2019 when he was still a high school student and mascot at Decatur High School. Cottrell was SuperFrog from his try-out in April 2019 until his graduation from TCU in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre. He has also been a mascot instructor for the Universal Cheerleaders Association for over five years.

In his final year, Cottrell helped run the SuperFrog try-outs. He described the try-out process in as much detail as he was allowed to in a post-graduation interview.

“It was mainly a set of situations that you had to react to in quick succession, and prior to these situations, there was a crash course on how to walk, talk and act like SuperFrog,” Cottrell said.

As an experienced SuperFrog, Cottrell also got opportunities in recent years to travel and represent TCU around Fort Worth and across the nation.

“Honestly, if you have the money and you have the willpower, you can get SuperFrog to pretty much any event you want to, as long as it’s within a certain radius of campus,” Cottrell said. “So, I’ve done 5Ks. I’ve been to weddings. I replaced a wife for a first look as SuperFrog one time. And, of course, through TCU, I’ve been to New York for the stock exchange.”

Aidan Cottrell, used with permission

For the higher-profile opportunities, such as the stock exchange or out-of-state alumni events, Cottrell said that seniority, skill and availability are all important factors in picking the student that will wear the costume. For the less-viewed events, it comes down to availability.

Brian Kaye, a TCU 2022 graduate, was SuperFrog only for his senior year. Still, he got to attend March Madness as SuperFrog before graduating with his degree in food management. His experience was different than Cottrell’s, but he said it was still very rewarding.

“Every opportunity I was in suit, you knew that was your one shot for one specific event, so that really made everything more special to me,” Kaye said. “Knowing that you had that one opportunity helped me make the most of everything that one year.”

According to the SuperFrog Scheduler, people hoping to have SuperFrog at their events must request the appearance using the online form at least 14 days prior to the event date. Event rates vary based on whether the event is on or off campus. Plus, booking SuperFrog for an event on the day before a TCU football game is almost double the price. For a one-hour, on-campus event early in the week, it is $100.

In any event, SuperFrog has strict rules. The most important rules for students while wearing the suit are no talking and no rude gestures. This rule includes the “horns down” hand sign. SuperFrog is also prohibited from being in the same picture as any alcohol paraphernalia.

“So, if you’re drinking a Bud and you want a picture with SuperFrog, he will often pantomime nervously to hide the beverage or put it down before the photo is taken,” Cottrell said.

Beyond the rules, Cottrell said the best guideline for any mascot is to just keep moving.

“The moment you stop moving is the moment you stop being entertaining,” Cottrell said.

Kaye said another guideline was to make sure that SuperFrog was one identity.

“We all need to have a similar persona,” Kaye said. “We need to be able to do similar things. For example, I can’t go break out a crazy dance move if no one else can do it.”

TCU v Tarleton state
SuperFrog runs out with the team before the game against Tarleton in 2022. (Esau Rodriguez)

SuperFrog’s infectious energy is on full display at football games, where in fact, three students wear the costume at different points throughout game day. For home games, it is a long process.

The first SuperFrog arrives 2.5 hours before kick-off to visit tailgates and parking lots and walk the team down Frog Alley into the stadium.

“Then after that, changing of the guard occurs and SuperFrog runs the team out and does his whole smoke-bomb, flag-waving thing,” Cottrell said.

This second SuperFrog gets fans excited in the first two quarters and also visits certain suites if need be. The third SuperFrog stays out for the latter two quarters and any overtime.

For home football games, Cottrell was most often the second SuperFrog.

Cottrell said the best part of being SuperFrog is seeing people’s faces light up when he enters the room in costume.

“That is a feeling and sensation that is hard to beat,” Cottrell said. “And another thing that I really, really enjoy other than kids’ faces lighting up is when I walk into the student section and take pictures with someone on Saturday, then have a conversation about how excited they were to get a selfie with SuperFrog in class with them on Monday, which has happened multiple times to me. So, the best experiences are just being a beacon of joy.”

Obviously, secrecy is key to being SuperFrog or else this sensation would never happen. Since Kaye was only SuperFrog for one year, he was able to keep it well under wraps.

“It’s fun, but it’s also really difficult not to disclose it,” Kaye said. “It’s very challenging, but in a fun way, to kind of create a lie or a way to get out of things. I always told friends and even some professors that I had an internship with athletic dining because of my nutrition background.”

He said the best part was being able to reveal his identity and his phony job to the friends he had fooled after graduating.

The worst parts of being SuperFrog were never tied to the job itself, Cottrell said. It’s usually always opposing fans or drunk fans acting inappropriately towards SuperFrog that is the worst part of wearing the suit, especially at games.

After four years of wearing the muscular foam suit, Cottrell got to wear the SuperFrog head with his purple graduation gown. Any students who have been SuperFrog for more than half of their college career are given this opportunity to reveal their identity at graduation, Cottrell said.

“It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and if I had the chance to relive my life 100 times, I would never take it away,” Cottrell said.

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