Wes Lee Coyote needs extreme makeover!

 Crowdfunding site launched to rejuvenate hardworking Wesmen mascot

TEN Spa esthetician Loriana Costanzo pampers Wes Lee June 24, 2016 - photo© UWinnipeg

TEN Spa esthetician Loriana Costanzo pampers Wes Lee June 24, 2016 – photo© UWinnipeg


WINNIPEG, MB – Being a university mascot for a big-time sports operation like the Wesmen Athletics program is a demanding job.  From Wesmen Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Wrestling and Baseball, Wes Lee Coyote attends more than 50 games and events each year, dancing up a storm and getting the fans revved up. Every year up to five UWinnipeg students and a number of back-up faculty and staff are asked to put on the giant bobble-head coyote outfit and assume the role of Wes Lee. It’s a lot of traveling, improvisation, and takes tremendous physical stamina.

The coyote costume is more than 15 years old. The idea of the coyote was Bill Wedlake’s, former UWinnipeg Athletic Director, and Wes Lee Coyote made his first proud appearance as our mascot in 2001. The name Wes Lee honours our heritage, Wesley College.

At 105 years old in coyote years, and having attended more than 1,000 sporting events since his birth, Wes Lee is beginning to show his age. In fact, Wes Lee was recently examined by Dr. Susan Lingle, Associate Professor, Biology, UWinnipeg and was diagnosed with swollen head and mange.

“Wes Lee Coyote needs help.  I have never seen this in all of my years as a wildlife expert,” says Lingle. “At his advanced age and having endured such a rigorous schedule, there is no question Wes Lee needs some serious care and attention.”

At the recommendation of Professor Lingle, Wes Lee Coyote was recently booked for a spa day at the Fort Garry Hotel’s TEN SPA.

“When I heard the news of Wes Lee’s prognosis I felt I had to do something.  Wes Lee is a vital part of the success of the Wesmen Athletics program and provides a service to his fellow athletes no one else can provide,” said Ida Albo, UWinnipeg graduate,  former Foundation Board Member and co-owner of Yoga Public and The Fort Garry Hotel. “It would be a shame to see Wes Lee’s physical condition affect his performance at Wesmen games.”

Despite significant efforts by the professionals to improve Wes Lee’s physical state, UWinnipeg has made the tough decision he now needs an extreme makeover and is turning to the community to help.

“It wasn’t a decision we took lightly. We consulted Wes Lee and his peers in the Athletics Department and came to a consensus that replacing Wes Lee’s costume would be the appropriate action,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “It is my hope the University community will eradicate the mange in our midst by contributing to Wes Lee’s  new and improved outfit .”

Photo: Wes Lee in action – photo by Kelly Morton

Photo: Wes Lee in action – photo by Kelly Morton

The new costume will include a hand sculpted head with battery operated ventilation fan (the current costume is extremely hot, leading to the swollen head diagnosis); inner and upper body padding ; new outer fur body; coyote tail; jersey with heat-pressed logo, name and number; athletic shorts; animal paw mascot gloves; and “walkabout” mascot sneaker feet.

In addition to the costume, Wes Lee will be provided with a custom made, water-resistant carrying bag which will keep his uniform together, to avoid loss and keep it clean while transporting it to and from events.  He will also have a cooling vest system and fan unit – the closest thing to air conditioning available for mascots!

The cost of a new costume for Wes Lee is $5,000 and he will step out as his new and improved  self in time to launch UWinnipeg’s  50th celebrations in 2017.  To help cover the costs, the University of Winnipeg Foundation has launched a Wes Lee Coyote crowdfunding campaign.


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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca




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