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ESPN’s Holland Mickle Roars into Action for the Injured Clemson Cub

They say, “when opportunity knocks, you answer” — and that’s exactly what Holland Mickle, Coordinator, ESPN Programming & Acquisitions College Networks, did Thursday while attending the Ally ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

When Mickle, a former Clemson Tiger Cub mascot (2018-2021), learned that Clemson’s “Cub” had suffered a concussion, she immediately offered her services to support her mascot family for the Tigers’ second round game against North Carolina.

ESPN Front Row caught up with Mickle following her appearance as The Cub.

How did this come about? What was the timeline? 

We were told The Cub had an injury about two hours before the second round game scheduled to tip at 6 p.m. It caught my attention, and I immediately volunteered to fill in. I thought it could be really fun. After my former coach offered a few chances to back out, it was confirmed I’d suit up an hour before tip. Then came the challenge of finding athletic clothes to wear underneath the suit — I ended up taking clothes off the display mannequins at ACC FanFest (with permission of course!).  

Was it like “riding a bike” being a mascot again?

It was! I’ll admit I was a little nervous when it came time to put the suit on.  I had honestly forgotten how hard it was to see! But once I came out of the tunnel and ran past the Tiger Band, it was like no time had passed.  My old “moves” came right back. It was even more special that the Cub shoes were the same pair I wore in school, and I teared up when I realized.

How were you able to manage your ESPN job responsibilities while filling in for the game? 

I was fortunate that two members of my Charlotte-based team were there and able to cover me should anything happen. I am so grateful for their support and letting me go out there and have some fun! When I told my manager Jeramy Michiaels of the situation, he had the biggest smile on his face and was maybe even more excited than I was. More than anything, it was rejuvenating for me as an ESPN employee — it gave me the opportunity to witness the fans we serve in an entirely new light.  

Mickle during her time as “The Cub” while at Clemson


Photos courtesty: Holland Mickle
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