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Eye of the Bull: USF seeks Rocky replacements

When USF’s record football season caught the nation’s eye, all eyes turned to one person – or one Bull, to be exact.

But that Bull is retiring, so the replacement process for a new Rocky the Bull began this week, as aspiring Rockys learn what it takes to fill the position – as well as the perks of the job.

“You get to travel to away games, you get to interact with people and you make lifelong friends,” said the current Rocky, who is graduating this spring. He requested anonymity to prevent Rocky’s image from being associated with a particular person.

Athletics is hiring four Rockys this semester to replace the current one, who has had the job for three years. Rocky said candidates should have good personalities and good heads on their shoulders.

To be eligible, candidates must be enrolled at USF for both the fall and spring semesters. Undergraduates must be taking a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and graduate students, nine. Also, potential Rockys must uphold a 2.0 or better grade point average. The height requirement for the Rocky costume is roughly 5-foot-7 to 6-foot-1, and an athletic build is preferred.

Though the person donning the Rocky costume becomes a sort of celebrity at athletic events, the job isn’t as glamorous as it may look.

“You are performing in a sauna,” said Matt Hitchcock, who was Rocky from January 2004 to December 2006. “It’s a great weight-loss program. Even if you’re tired, you still have to maintain that Rocky personality.”

The job is time-consuming, but it is rewarding, Hitchcock said.

“I was here during a time when the University was experiencing remarkable growth. As a result, I got to experience things no other student would experience,” he said.

Hitchcock said the bar has been set higher for prospective Rockys.

“There’s a higher expectation. As a result of the University’s popularity growing, Rocky’s popularity is growing,” he said.

The four students chosen as the new Rocky will rotate being the Bull at outdoor University events and athletic games.

“We’ve always had three at a minimum,” Marketing Event Coordinator Tina Kelly said. “It will definitely be easier for them. We’re splitting the labor.”

Kelly said the success of the football team resulted in a greater demand for Rocky at events such as birthday parties and weddings.

Kelly said it is important that the candidates know they are representing USF Athletics at all times during these events.

“They’re basically the face of the department,” she said. “We ask them to keep that in mind at all times.”

Rocky auditions will be held Monday. For more information, call (813) 974-3517 or e-mail