UNA Alum up for Cartoon Network's Most Awesome Mascot Award

Feb. 17, 2011


FLORENCE, Ala. – University of North Alabama alumnus and former Leo the Lion mascot Pete Nelson never imagined he would someday take on the role of “T-Rac” for the Tennessee Titans or that he would be in the running for Cartoon Network’s Most Awesome Mascot.

Nelson, a 1998 UNA graduate and Leo mascot from 1994-99, is one of four mascots from across the country who is nominated for Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game Awards, which will be hosted Feb. 25 by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite mascot online, which will go through Feb. 20.

“I remember my dad [UNA professor Dr. Larry Nelson] took me to a UNA game in high school, and that’s when I realized I wasn’t as smart as ol’ Dr. Nelson, and I remember thinking, ‘I’m not going to get an academic or athletic scholarship,’” Nelson said. “But when I saw Leo walking up the stairs at the game, I knew I wanted to be that guy.”

When Nelson was later handed the reigns as the Leo mascot, he immediately began perfecting his trade as Leo the Lion. After graduation, the Florence native took third place as Leo in the National Cheerleaders Association National Mascot Competition in 1999 before landing the role as “T-Rac” for the Tennessee Titans football team.

The Most Awesome Mascot voting results will be announced Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Cartoon Network awards show, where Nelson, the only NFL mascot to be nominated, will join his competitors in Los Angeles. T-Rac will compete against Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns, Bango of the Milwaukee Bucks and Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It’s an honor to come from UNA, get a job with the Titans and be nominated as one of the best in my profession,” Nelson said. “I am very blessed and grateful.”

To vote for T-Rac as Cartoon Network’s Most Awesome Mascot, visit www.cartoonnetwork.com and click Hall of Game Awards, then Most Awesome Mascot.