BYU’s dancing Cougar mascot enjoying newfound fame but maintaining anonymity after viral video

Provo • There are two questions the BYU dancers keep getting.

No. 1: Can you do that in Provo?

No. 2: Who is he?

The latter, most often, is followed by a series of demands: Unmask him! We want his name!

More than one reporter has come around campus asking questions since Shaye Edwards and her Cougarette teammates went viral with a game-night routine that rocked LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday.

The first is easy enough to answer. Yes, you can dance in Utah County, and there’s no better proof of that than the 16-time national champion Cougarettes.

But the mystery man who was front and center of their sensational performance will stay hidden in his Cosmo mascot costume for now.

“We’d have to kill you,” said Jodi Maxfield, the dance team’s coach.

Here’s what the Cougarettes will share about the man behind the mask: He is male, and a senior at the university.

He is not a member of the dance team and, in fact, has no formal dance training in his background.

But he’s a longtime supporter of the Cougarettes. He watches their routines and picks up moves here and there. A few years ago, he drove to Florida to watch them compete in the national tournament.

The Cougarettes are hard to keep up with — the team has won 16 national dance championships, most recently in 2016, and has had plenty of success with hip-hop performances at competitions.

In Maxfield’s 28 years at BYU, there have been maybe two or three Cosmos who have been asked to learn some choreography for Cougarette performances. This is the only one who has been ever asked to learn a full routine.

The Cougarettes called on him last year, and knew they wanted to include him again this season.

Edwards and her fellow captains, junior Nicole Thorley and sophomore Emry Wride, hashed out this routine a little over a week ago.

“We want to make sure the crowd was going to be into it,” Thorley said. “We wanted to put in some tricks that people would like. But it was more of a relaxed routine for us that we could just have fun with.”

When Cosmo arrived for the first rehearsal, Thorley said, “he was on point.”

And by the time the last note of Ayo & Teo’s “Rolex” had played, the 18 members of the Cougarettes had flipped onto the turf, and Cosmo had pointed his finger into the air, Maxfield knew they’d struck gold.

“The crowd just went crazy,” she said. “Even during the game, I had a lot of people texting me, saying, ‘That was insane. Lit.’”

And just like that, a viral sensation was born.

Since Friday night, the Cougarettes’ routine has been been featured on CBS and have been interviewed by Inside Edition and the Washington Post. They’ve been contacted by the song’s creators asking to collaborate on some future project. And the shared and retweeted tens of thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook, with many expressing shock that this cougar, with those moves, is from BYU.

“Do they really think that we don’t dance at BYU?” Edwards wondered with a laugh. “We have such a huge dancer department. It’s crazy that they think we’re not allowed to do this kind of stuff.”

“He was incredible,” Wride said with a smile. “What other school has a mascot that can do that?”

He sends text messages to the dancers whenever a celebrity retweets the routine.

“The hardest thing for us is him not getting recognition for the person that he is,” Maxfield said. “He gets it, as the mascot.”

But “it’s frustrating,” Thorley added.

“Someday everyone will know,” Maxfield said.