The Blue Devil Unmasked: A Q&A with Andrew Greenfield (B.S. ’17)

Monday, May 15, 2017

For the last four years, Andrew Greenfield has led a double life

By all accounts, he was a typical, high-achieving Blue Devil. Greenfield juggled the heavy course load that comes with being an economics major and computer science minor, while successfully navigating the academic and extracurricular rigmarole his junior and senior years to secure a job on Wall Street.

But Greenfield wasn’t just any Blue Devil; he was the Blue Devil. 

As the Blue Devil mascot, his was the most recognizable face at Duke sporting events and school spirit personified, but no one — not even his closest friends — knew about this secret identity. Last month Greenfield was officially “unmasked” and awarded the Harry Rainey Spirit Award at the Duke men’s basketball program’s annual banquet and awards ceremony, held at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In further recognition of his dedication to the role, Greenfield was able to wear the Blue Devil cape one last time on graduation day.

The Friday before graduation, Greenfield kindly took the time to answer some of our questions. Keep reading to learn more about the man behind the mask. 

You were the Blue Devil since 2013. How did you get the job?
I was never a mascot in high school, but when I got into Duke I just thought it would be something fun. I emailed Head Cheerleading Coach Alayne Rusnak the summer before I came to Duke and asked, “Is there a tryout for this? Is it something people can do? What’s the deal?” She invited me to open tryouts in September. I did a few rounds of in-suit work and out-of-suit work, and eventually was offered the job later that month.

What was it like to have this secret identity?
It’s a bit surreal. For the first few months, and probably through the first year, you live this two-persona life. One second you’re in front of thousands of people in Cameron and you’re the center of attention and a spirit leader for the school; the next you’re just a kid on the bus trying to get back to his dorm and not talking to anyone. 

It’s a mix between who you are and who the character is. As the years progressed, I found that the differences between those two people really do tend to blend a little more. I bring a bit of myself to the Blue Devil, and I think a part of him will always be with me even when I graduate from Duke.

Can you explain what you mean by that?
The fun part about being the mascot is that it’s like a skeleton template for how you want to play the character. Everyone who has worn the suit from year to year brings a different swagger or personality to it. Some guys in the past have been very militant, strong men and very, very dominant. The Blue Devil has similarities across the board: he’s confident; he has a bit of mischievousness to him; he has a ton of compassion towards the fans and towards those who love Duke as well. You develop with the character. As a senior, I can be in suit and no longer have to think about how the Blue Devil would react to any given situation or environment. It’s almost entirely fluid once I put the mask on. 

Do you think having this kind of Blue Devil personality embedded in you will help you as you go out into the real world?
It’s great because I’ve had this experience being in front of thousands of people, which is something that clearly won’t happen once I graduate from Duke. The ability to be able to think quickly on your feet and act in the right way when there are cameras and people watching is incredible Also, it’s an amazing talking point I’ll have for the rest of my life.

How did it feel to finally be unmasked?
This was also surreal. I was still so used to being cautious when talking about being the Blue Devil and coming up with excuses when I was missing during basketball and football games. Then when April came around, I could be transparent. It was great to see the reactions of my friends who finally put the pieces together.

This experience must have been a pretty big defining feature of your time here. What other events, programs, and/or people had the most impact on you?
I knew I wanted to be an economics major from the second I got to campus. It just seemed, as a general field of study, like something interesting that I could really enjoy. As I slowly progressed through my coursework, I understood more why I liked it. From ECON 101 with Professor Lori Leachman — and the creative energy she brought to class that made me want to go to every lecture; to the Duke in London: Finance program with Professors Emma Rasiel and John Caccavale, which showed me what I can do with this degree outside of a classroom and introduced me to Duke alumni working in finance; to excellent and rigorous classes like Introduction to Econometrics with  Professor Jimmy Roberts, who would take what’s viewed as a very difficult topic in the economics major requirement and make it a lot of fun as well.

Was it difficult to juggle being responsibilities of being the Blue Devil with your academic workload?
It was at times. I remember my junior year there was a stretch where I had to do seven games in nine days, and I was going through recruitment as well. It was tough, and it took a physical and mental toll. But all my professors were very flexible when I would tell them I had to go away for a weekend. They really treated me like a student-athlete.

What are your post-Duke plans?
I’m going to be moving to New York and working on the equity capital market team at Citibank. I interned there as a junior and loved the team. 

What advice do you have for incoming students? 
I have a note to incoming freshmen looking to take economics classes: Getting to know your professors will make your experience so much more rewarding, and easier, and better. They’re incredible. They want to get to know you. I look forward to continuing relationships I’ve built with my professors well past my graduation day.