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CCU Atheneum: Zachary Moran is the new Chauncey on campus; you can tell by his glasses that he's the
Zachary Moran is the new Chauncey on campus; you can tell by his glasses that he's the "academic" chicken, as opposed to the athletic mascot who performs at sports events.

There's a new chicken on campus

by Mona Prufer
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If you think you’re seeing double images of teal feathers, don’t worry. There’s just a new chicken on Coastal Carolina University’s campus.

The new “Academic Chauncey,” whose roost is in the Office of University Communication, is distinguishable by his black-rimmed glasses. He is, after all, a scholar. He can be seen at marketing events and promotions, campus events, and many places where you might not expect to find a Chanticleer. Recently, he visited the teacher cadet students and, on the following day, was over at the Adkins Field House laying bricks and putting up sheetrock. Well, sort of.

Zachary Quinn Moran, 19, a freshman history major who plans to study law, has a lot of experience in the mascot business. His background includes a stint earlier this year as Splash, the mascot for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball team, a two-year gig as Rally Shark, another Pelicans’ mascot, and three years in a panther suit as the Carolina Forest High School mascot.

Here’s a brief interview with the new chicken on campus.

When did you first know you wanted to be a chicken?
It really started with the panther suit. I had to convince a lot of people to bring that moldy panther suit out of the athletic lockers at Carolina Forest. I brought it home, and my mom mended it, and we cleaned its teeth and took it to the dry cleaners. But the first tine I showed up at a game, that panther was an awesome hit!

So how did the panther turn into a shark and a pelican?
In 10th grade, I got the Splash gig and did a job here and there at $50 a pop. But then the job ended, so when the next baseball season rolled around, I got the job as Rally Shark, who hangs around the visitors’ clubhouse. I got to run into left field and dance around when we got a hit. If we won, I’d do a victory dance with Splash. And then there were the post-game activities.

Were there any drawbacks to being a mascot during the summer months?
I only had one heat stroke, but then, I didn’t wear the ice vest, and I didn’t drink enough water. It gets hot in there.

But then you got the job as Splash?
I did! By then they knew what I could do. It was a blast! Kids are the best unless I make them cry, which happens. So far it’s been one of my favorite mascoting jobs.

What are the hidden dangers of mascoting?
You trip over a lot of little kids because they come up and grab your legs and you don’t see them because you can’t see a lot. I’ve tripped over everything - big feet and stuff. I’ve run into doors. I’ve been groped! There’s a lot of physicality to being a mascot.

How is being the Academic Chauncey so far?
So far it’s not as physically challenging. (This was before the chicken ran into scaffolding on a job site.) But it’s fun! Everybody loves Chauncey. He makes people smile.

Do you have a role model?
Each mascot has his own thing and you don’t want to imitate the others. You just want to develop the character on your own. I’m sure the Academic Chauncey will be different from the Athletic Chauncey because we’re different people in there. I mean, I’m athletic. I can run, I can do cartwheels, but not flips.

What attributes does a good mascot have?
You have to be animated and people-friendly. You hug, you shake hands, you bump fists, you pick on people. You can’t be afraid to get up in front of people. You just really want to have fun. You can’t see it as a job. It’s like dressing up every day for Halloween. It helps to have a childlike mentality.

What do you get out of being a mascot?
It’s like acting. You have to be willing to do anything at a given moment. You have to know your emotions and how to show them. There’s a sense of freedom. If you want to steal someone’s drink, you just do it. If you want to steal their baseball cap, you do it. I did get into trouble once for stealing a cell phone! There’s a huge adrenaline rush. Life is a play!

Do you aspire to be the Athletic Chauncey?
Um. I don’t know how athletic he has to be. I prefer this guy, for now anyway!

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