If there’s one person who people can count on to bring energy to every men’s and women’s basketball game, it’s Tuffy the Titan.
Adults and children cheer as he runs across the gym floor carrying a Cal State Fullerton flag, ready to interact with the crowd.
As anticipation for the start of the game rises, he goes up and down the bleachers, high fiving and taking pictures with fans.
Inside the Tuffy costume is the person daring enough to take on the energy-demanding and exciting role of Cal State Fullerton’s beloved mascot, 19-year-old communications major, Steven Beydler.
He learned of the open Tuffy position his freshman year at CSUF from a friend who was a cheerleader at the time. The role appealed to him because while in high school, he had gained experience working in show choir and with kids.
After going over the application process with Spirit Squad Advisor Jennie Volkert, Beydler was instantly considered for the role of Tuffy.
He said he had to prove himself, and he did so by setting aside all nerve-wrecking feelings and jumping into the role without a former trial at a basketball game.
“Once I got out there, I just did it. I thought, ‘no one knows who I am, so I can do whatever I want,’” he said.
Beydler said he has tried to keep his position as Tuffy low profile, but his roommates think he has the “coolest job in the world” and tell everyone they meet, so the secret’s out amongst his friends.
In addition to making appearances at games, Beydler also works at school wide events when requested and charity events in the community.
“My favorite part is getting to do whatever I want to do and no one will know it’s me and I can just screw around and have fun and make people laugh, and act in ways I wouldn’t normally act,” he said.
He said that he has to make sure he is full of energy before going out onto the gym floor, because it’s his responsibility to bring school spirit and excite the crowd.
“He’s highly energetic and certainly cheers the team on, makes people smile, (and is) great interacting with kids and other fans,” said Director of Athletics Jim Donovan.
Another one of Beydler’s favorite parts of being the school mascot is having the opportunity to work with kids. He loves seeing the excitement and happiness that meeting Tuffy brings to them.
“Kids can come up and interact with Tuffy. Seeing the kid’s faces, their eyes get really big and they get big smiles,” said Donovan, “You’re really putting on a good impression for young people about Cal State Fullerton through the Tuffy mascot.”
In the past, the spirit squad has had multiple people take on the role of Tuffy, but because of the demanding schedule and amount of events that they must attend, many were not able to do it anymore. This year, Beydler is the only student playing Tuffy, and Volkert said that regardless of the rigorous time commitment required, he is doing an excellent job
“It’s a demanding job,” said Volkert, “I don’t know how he does it, but he makes it happen. He’s definitely a great Tuffy, that’s for sure.”
Volkert added that she is accepting applications for Tuffy year-round, so students who are interested are encouraged to apply.
“I feel like that’s the main goal with Tuffy, is school spirit and trying to get us more connected … I feel like he’s definitely the centerpiece in trying to connect people together,” said Beydler.