Will D. Cat Interview: The Man, the Myth, the Legends


Courtesy of Nick Capriotti

Nick Capriotti stands unmasked with another Will D. Cat mascot.

Kendall Hayes, Staff Writer

Before this semester, I did not think much about Will D. Cat. Will D. Cat began to enter my mind more when I met his biggest fan: My Quantitative Research professor, Alison Levin. Before that, all I knew were the basics.

He or she was Villanova University’s mascot. His or her identity was meant to be “low-key.” However, there is apparently a lot more to Will D. Cat. All one had to do was ask. Senior Nick Capriotti, one of Villanova’s Will D. Cats, opened up about what the ever so coveted position is like.

The Villanovan: Would you be able to explain how you got started with Will D. Cat?

Nick Capriotti: I first got involved with the team when I saw a post advertising mascot tryouts on Will D. Cat’s Instagram. I decided to go to the information session, and learning more about the program convinced me to take part in the tryout. After a couple of weeks, I was offered a position as a mascot.

Four years later, I’m now one of two captains who leads the team.

TV: Why do you think there is the perception that the identity of Will D. Cat is secret?

NC: Most people are correct in assuming that it’s a secret. Every member of the mascot team is required to keep their identity a secret in order to maintain the illusion that Will is a singular character rather than a team of individuals. We’re finally able to reveal our identities during the second semester of our senior year, which is a nice way to gain some recognition for all of the hard work that we’ve done over the past four years.

TV: Since there are multiple Will. D Cats, do all of you go to each game? If yes, are you ready for New Orleans?

NC: There are usually two mascots at each game— one in the suit, and one handler or “shadow,” as we call them. Shadows are responsible for guiding the mascot throughout the stadium on game days and making sure that he is in the correct location during each timeout. Unfortunately, the NCAA only allows one mascot to travel for any given tournament game, but the rest of us are always eager to cheer on our teammate as well as the Villanova basketball team.

TV: How does your transportation/boarding work? Do you stay with the team?

NC: We aren’t required to travel very often. We are essentially an extension of the Villanova Cheer team, so we usually travel whenever they are required to. For short distances, we drive Villanova University vans. For tournament games, we are put on the same flight and in the same hotel as cheer.

TV: Since you are a senior, I hear that you are looking for a new Will D. Cat. If someone is interested, what should his or her next steps be?

NC: Right now, we’re looking for a current freshman to join the team. If you’re interested in learning more, we’ll be hosting a super laid-back information session on Tuesday, 4/19 that will tell you all about the mascot program. We’re going to announce the location and time of this information session on social media very soon, so be sure to follow Will D. Cat on Instagram @Willdcatvu for updates.

TV: What’s been the most rewarding part of being Will D. Cat?

NC: Being Will D. Cat provides you with incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, but the most rewarding aspect comes from interacting with people during appearances. Seeing excited kids, students and alumni approach you for a hug, high five or selfie never fails to make you smile. Ultimately, being a mascot gives you one of the most fun and unique college experiences that you could possibly have here at Villanova, and we can’t wait to welcome another member to our group.