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Gensler’s Deeg Snyder Was a Mischievous Mascot for Mississippi State

The co-managing director’s personality and zest for fun were unleashed wearing the Bulldog costume.
| |Photography courtesy of Deeg Snyder
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Bulldog Days: Deeg Snyder was known for pushing the boundaries as Mississippi State’s mascot, but it was all in good fun. Deeg Snyder

Gensler’s Deeg Snyder Was a Mischievous Mascot for Mississippi State

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In 1992, Deeg Snyder enrolled as an architecture student at Mississippi State University and quickly learned, for one reason or another, that “architecture programs discourage a lot of outside involvement in university life, which I had a huge problem with,” he says. So, naturally, Snyder became overly involved with university life. As a freshman, he rushed and joined a fraternity, became involved in student government, and tried out for and made the school’s cheerleading team. 

When MSU’s 1993 football season was approaching, the team’s former mascot had graduated, and Snyder—now co-managing director for Gensler’s Dallas office—had eyes on a new role. “I don’t have to do anything except show up, be mischievous, play around, and have fun? And I can retain anonymity? Sign me up,” he recalls thinking. 

To say Snyder had fun sporting the Bulldog costume is an understatement. Before the school’s game against the University of Arkansas in 1993, Snyder worked the tailgating lots and found an MSU fan smoking a hog. “So, of course, I asked for the head,” he laughs. Snyder paraded the hog’s head around the stadium and offered to feed pieces of it to fans. 

A few weeks later, the Bulldogs played at the University of Florida. Snyder’s envious eye found Albert, the Florida mascot, crowd-surfing in the stands on the opposing side. “I went up to him and said, ‘Hey, at halftime, do you think we could switch outfits? I really want to crowd surf,’” Snyder remembers. “So, he said, ‘Sure, why not,’ and we switched outfits for an entire quarter so I could do that.”

The architect says he consistently pushed the boundaries as a mascot. He remembers his coach sticking up for him a time or two against the athletic director to ensure Snyder did not lose his cheer scholarship. “Let’s just say some of the things I did probably wouldn’t have passed somewhere like UC Berkeley,” Snyder jokes. 

The most fun he ever had, he says, was at mascot camp at the University of Georgia. “We used to spend all day working on ways to expand our characters while the real cheerleaders trained—so we had a lot of downtime,” Snyder says. “One of our skill-building days was spent wreaking havoc at a grocery store. And one night, all the mascots went out in full costume and did a bar crawl.”

If there’s one lesson from the experience Snyder has transferred to the executive ranks, it’s getting noticed. “In the professional world, I feel I was able to advance in my career because I established my brand and made an impression,” he says. “Today, as a leader, I think it’s important to understand everybody has a hidden talent; you just have to develop that connection to better understand what it is.”  


Ben Swanger

Ben Swanger

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Ben Swanger is the managing editor for D CEO, the business title for D Magazine. Ben manages the Dallas 500, monthly…