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Michael Brown: My Years As The Notre Dame Leprechaun05:38
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Michael Brown was the first African-American to serve as the Notre Dame Leprechaun. (Courtesy Michael Brown)
Michael Brown was the first African-American to serve as the Notre Dame Leprechaun. (Courtesy Michael Brown)
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Since 1965 the official mascot of Notre Dame university has been the Leprechaun. Dressed in tights and waving a shillelagh, the Leprechaun keeps the crowds revved up and help to improve morale when the going gets tough.

Michael Brown served as the Notre Dame leprechaun from 1999-2001 and was the first African-American to do so. He was urged to try out for the mascot spot by his roommates.

Mike Brown poses as the Fighting Irish leprechaun. (Mike Bennett)
Mike Brown poses as the Fighting Irish leprechaun. (Mike Bennett)

Despite a lack of cheerleading experience, Brown got the job and used his energy and passion to excite Notre Dame fans.

"This was my very first pep rally. Oh my gosh, I remember it like it was yesterday. I started running, but I had a bad habit of not necessarily looking where I was going. And, so, there was a stack of megaphones directly to my left as I started The Wave. And I ran over the megaphones, tripped, fell hard, got back up and started running again. And, of course,  I slipped again, in front of 12 or 13 thousand people. But, you know what, I got back up and just kept running.  And so, yeah, a nice way to kick off your inaugural pep rally as a leprechaun."

In this edition of "In Their Own Words," Brown tells Only A Game about his time as Notre Dame's mascot and what it was like being the school's first African-American leprechaun.

To hear the full story, click the play button below the headline at the top of the page. 

This segment aired on October 17, 2015.

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Zoë Sobel Production Assistant
Zoë Sobel was formerly a production assistant in WBUR's newsroom.

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