Christian Coffey: The reveal, reflection of Hook ‘Em

Sasha Haynes, Life & Arts Reporter

When Hook ’Em takes the field, the crowd erupts. As UT’s horned mascot bounces up and down, the crowd jumps to their feet in pride and energy for the burnt orange. Underneath his costume, Christian Coffey, theatre and dance senior, gives his all to the UT community. 

“Every single person has a part to play in school spirit, and (when) you bring that together, it just genuinely creates magic,” he said. 

On April 22, Coffey revealed in an Instagram post that for the past four years, he has been the face behind Hook ‘Em — UT’s beloved mascot. As Coffey will soon become an alumnus of the University, he said he will always look back fondly on his time as Hook ‘Em, bringing school spirit to the stands. 

As a freshman, Coffey said he initially wanted to become a part of the Texas Athletics marketing team and accidentally sent in his acting resume instead of his marketing application. Texas Athletics offered him the position of school mascot instead.

“One of my favorite things about being Hook ‘Em is being able to really shift the atmosphere — just by simple actions,” Coffey said. 

Coffey said his time as Hook ‘Em provided him with the opportunity to meet many Longhorns throughout the years. It has also allowed him to meet Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Durant, be featured in commercials and compete at Disney World.

“I always interacted with so many Longhorns over the years. When I’m outside of the suit, I see those people every day. I’d be nodding and being like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ — not thinking that they have no idea who I am.”  

In addition to the onslaught of opportunities portraying Hook ‘Em provided, Coffey said the role also helped him overcome his stage fright and enjoy the spotlight.

“Leading thousands of Texas fans in Texas Fight is one of the coolest things,” Coffey said. “I’m one being, and I’m directing this crowd of thousands of people. Being 19 years old when I first started this and leading and entertaining millions of people was mind blowing to me.”

Coffey’s good friend, alumnus Emmanuel Williams, said despite their close relationship, he was just as much in the dark about Hook ‘Em’s identity as everyone else.

“When I found out he was Hook ‘Em the whole time, I was like, ‘It all makes sense now, because I never (saw) him on the field.’” Williams said. “I was shocked. He was one of my closest friends. We tell each other pretty much everything.” 

After watching Coffey’s on-field performances for years, Ivory James, a psychology junior and UT cheerleader, said Coffey always put his heart into his performances as Hook ‘Em. 

“He was really good at being that character,” James said. ”He had his own style, and he was able to put his dancing skills into it. That’s really what made him stand out.” 

After four years of being Hook ‘Em, Coffey said he can’t wait to spend time pursuing different passions, such as his growing rapping career. 

“I don’t want to ever box myself,” Coffey said. “I want to be able to dip my toe in everything, so I rap, I sing, I play piano and I play instruments. I never want to stop learning.”