The Swoop Out: Matt Beigun retiring after nine years of Ozzie

Danae Leake

Matt Beigun, the man responsible for bringing Ozzie Osprey to life, is retiring. Photo by Jenn Mello
Matt Beigun, the man responsible for bringing Ozzie Osprey to life, is retiring. Photo by Jenn Mello

The man behind the suit of the beloved Ozzie Osprey mascot announced his retirement after nine years of springing up school spirit for the University of North Florida. Matt Biegun made the announcement on social media earlier today saying that he “knew this day would come.”

I knew this day would come. Some might say too soon, while others might say not soon enough. Today is the day I announce…

Posted by Ozzie Osprey on Thursday, April 21, 2016

According to the Facebook post from the Ozzie Osprey profile, Biegun said he doesn’t know when his last day will be but he knows that he was very blessed to have had the opportunity to play the part.  

“Some might say too soon, while others might say not soon enough,” Biegun said. “I do know that not a day goes by without me knowing how absolutely blessed I’ve been to do something I love. This was not an easy decision. As a husband and father of 3 kids between the ages of 7 years old and 11 months, it’s important for me to be home.”

Although Biegun is retiring from his Ozzie mascot gig, he said he isn’t giving up on performing in general. Biegun will continue to develop the “DJ the Dog” mascot program for Duval County Public Schools, a podcast that talks about the bizarre experiences of being a mascot. The former Osprey mascot will also continue his UNSUITED podcast as well.  

Director of Athletic Communications Brian Morgan said the department hasn’t mapped out when they will find a replacement, and the tryout dates are still up in the air. There will be a training camp followed by open auditions to replace Biegun by the fall.

Although Biegun exits this part of his performing career, he wants others to know that he still wants to be connected to the UNF community.

“It’s very important to me that Ozzie lives on with the same passion, wit, and lovable nature. This is not a ‘Goodbye.’ This is a ‘See you later!’ I’m an Osprey for life! SWOOP!!”

Fare thee well Biegun. We’ll sure miss your school spirit and exuberant pelvic thrusts.  

 

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