To Ohio State fans, Brutus Buckeye represents their school spirit and extraordinary college pride, but to the faces behind the revered mascot, Brutus is much more.
“Being Brutus is a license to do everything you want to do as a fan. At games, you can go anywhere and do anything,” said Thomas Phillips Jr., one of the two OSU students who are the personalities behind Brutus Buckeye.
“It made me realize how much I love OSU and that no fans can top Ohio State fans,” said Emily Moor, the other Brutus. Moor, a junior in communication, knew she wanted to be Brutus in high school.
“I was my high school mascot and a cheerleader. My senior year, after the last basketball game, I was sad we were finished. I knew then that I wanted to try out for the greatest mascot in the world – and there is no better mascot than Brutus,” Moor said.
Phillips, a senior in aerospace engineering, had no previous experience being a mascot or cheerleader.
“I decided I wanted to be Brutus about two weeks before tryouts. I am in Air Force ROTC which has been a tremendous thing from the get-go, but it also required a tremendous amount of time,” Phillips said. “Basically, I was a student and in ROTC. I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Being Brutus was that last piece of the puzzle. I now feel like I have done everything while I was here.”
What a big piece of the puzzle it is; Moor and Phillips must cover five varsity sports between the two of them: women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and football.
“The roughest time was around October and November when all five sports were going at once,” Phillips said.
“I had 17 credit hours fall quarter. Balancing it all can be difficult at times, but you learn. Once you get in the groove of things, you learn to manage your time. It is well worth it,” Moor said. Moor is not only Brutus and a full-time student, but she is also a server at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Hilliard.
“Emily and I just sit down and look at our calendars to see what fits our schedule. We not only do the games, we also do university appearances,” Phillips said.
One of Phillips’ fondest memories was when OSU beat Northwestern – which was supposed to be a football powerhouse that season – at home.
“I ran straight on the field. I was singing ‘Carmen Ohio’ with the band, waving the flag. All of the sudden, someone with a gloved hand comes up and grabs the flag and we take off down the field. Sure enough it was Mike Doss. I was running the flag down the field with Mike Doss,” Phillips said.
Despite two thieves stealing his Brutus uniform before the Michigan game, Phillips showed up in full costume to pump up OSU fans and “mallow” out the fans from Ann Arbor.
“I took a bag of marshmallows and a golf club and was hitting the marshmallows at the Michigan stands. I took a divot out of the end zone that went in the stands further than the marshmallows,” he said.
“The Michigan game was probably my best Brutus moment too, and I wasn’t even Brutus that game,” Moor said. “Actually, it was when I finally realized it is not just about cheering for games and the team, but it is also about making other people happy.
“At a game, I was shooting shirts up into the crowd and I spotted a boy who had cancer. He never caught a shirt, so I went in the back and got another shirt. I took it up to him and signed it. He was so happy. But seeing the smile on his mom’s face made me realize this is what it is all about,” she said.
Moor is the first female Brutus since 1983 and the second female Brutus in Ohio State history.
“I wear football pads just like Tom. But I double up on my shorts underneath to make myself look a little bigger,” Moor said.
“Emily always told me she was going to be Brutus. …I told her she was crazy, that you have to be a boy to be Brutus and a certain height. But she said girls can try out too. She was bound and determined to make it and she did. When she told me, my jaw dropped to the ground. We were so proud of her,” said Jackie Jagger, senior in occupational therapy and Moor’s roommate. Jagger was also the one who inspired Moor to try out for being the mascot at their high school.
“Emily has the same character in and out of Brutus. Sometimes she’ll be walking around home doing the Brutus walk without even knowing it,” Jagger said.
For Phillips, his ability to lead fans definitely reflects the leadership qualities he learned through Air Force ROTC. Capt. William Kossick said Phillips was the top cadet – a wing commander – last winter quarter.
“He was in charge of getting 150 cadets prepared for the air force. He was nicknamed “the general” even though he was only a cadet,” Kossick said. “His ego penetrates through the costume. I can always tell when he is Brutus.”
“He is a great friend and leader – be it in the Air Force with younger cadets or in the ‘Shoe with thousands of Buckeye fans,” said Megan Wood, Phillips’ long-time friend.
Phillips said he wanted to keep Brutus inside the Air Force family. Last year’s Brutus was also a member of Air Force ROTC. He said there are three Air Force ROTC members interested in trying out this year. Tryouts will be April 12-14.
“I would love to follow in his footsteps and carry on the tradition of being Brutus,” said Alfred Chaffee, an Air Force ROTC cadet and senior in meteorology.
Moor and Phillips both have younger siblings who aspire to be Brutus someday.
“It has been great, coming home to tell all my friends I was busy escorting Brutus Buckeye down Lane Avenue to the French Field House for the big OSU games,” said Jeff Moor, Emily’s younger brother.
Moor’s inspiration to be Brutus definitely came from her family. “My mom was one of the reasons I wanted to become Brutus. She’s an inspiration,” Moor said.
“I am so proud of Emily. My whole office is decorated in Ohio State,” said Marilyn Moor, Emily’s mother.
After graduation, Emily wants to go into public relations or television broadcasting. “The more I am around every sport, I want to go into some form of sports marketing,” Moor said.
Phillips is graduating this quarter and will be stationed at Ohio State until he heads to pilot training in October. He acquired his private pilot license last December.
“I am just on my way to becoming a simple pilot,” Phillips said.
“Being Brutus is something I’ll never forget. I would encourage anyone who is interested to try out. It has opened up so many doors for me. You get to work with a great coach and make awesome friends on the cheerleading squad,” Moor said.