Daniel Colt Collins was the Notre Dame leprechaun in 2009. Now he has written about his experience in a book called “Life as the Notre Dame Leprechaun.”
It is a fascinating insight. He had the roots and the lucky charm to get the job in the first place.
He traced his roots back to Ireland “I trace it back to the Collins family in West Cork, in Drimoleague. They came over during the famine, came to Boston and then they traveled to upstate New York,” he told IrishCentral.
Jonette Minton, Cheerleading Program Director and Head Coach at Notre Dame, told IrishCentral back then why Collins was the right pick.
“He has incredible spirit and energy and he speaks with lots of experience. He has a great love for Notre Dame and a smile that never quits.”
He loved the Keough-Naughton School of Irish Studies where he studied.
Back then he said “It is a very unique experience and I am glad that Notre Dame offers this opportunity. We have professors from Ireland who have first-hand experience of some major events in Irish history and it is a great way to learn,” continued Collins. “There is also a great mix between the cultural and academic aspects.”
As for being the leprechaun Collins says in his new book that it was a blast.
“Game day began at 8 a.m. with Metallica's hardcore version of the Irish classic "Whiskey in the Jar" blasting from my alarm clock - my kind of wake-up call. I suited up while listening to some of my favorite Irish rock ballads from Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, The Tossers, The Pogues, The Young Dubliners, and Shilelagh Law mixed in with tracks from the Band of the Fighting Irish. The cheerleaders assembled behind Alumni Hall at 9 a.m., and our marathon meet-and-greet tour got underway.”
As for his big moment he says “Before I knew it, less than five minutes remained on the pre-game countdown clock - time to get into position for my big moment with the flag. "Go when the gold helmets hit the sun!" That's what the NBC cameraman yelled my way when he got in position to capture the football team in the tunnel...”
When he ran on the field ahead of the Fighting Irish side Collins said “ I could feel the weight of over 162,000 eyes bearing down on me. Only one thought filled my mind: "Don't trip!"
“The explosion of the crowd came with far more force than I could have anticipated, nearly knocking me off my feet. I suddenly remembered my mantra, repeating, "Don't trip! Don't trip! Don't trip!" over and over in my head as I ran.
“A wildly unlikely journey had brought me to this unforgettable moment in my life, and an even more unbelievable story was about to unfold.”
Its an exciting book full of insider information about what it is like to be one of the most famous team mascots on earth and well worth reading.
“Life as the Notre Dame Leprechaun: Behind the Face of the Fighting Irish” by Daniel Colt Collins is available online here.