That’s because Lobo III, as it turned out, was not a wolf.
Lobo was believed to be a 4-month-old timber wolf when NC State’s student government purchased him from an animal dealer to commemorate the opening of what is now Carter-Finley Stadium in the 1960s.
Lobo was a hit at football games, in part because he often howled. But then a zoology professor unmasked Lobo, revealing that he was not a timber wolf. Instead, he was a coyote. That was fine with students, though, who simply started referring to NC State’s football team as the “Kool Kyoties.”
But all good things eventually come to an end and, on this day in 1970, the Technician reported that the reign of Lobo III as NC State’s mascot was over. The paper reported that Lobo III was retiring.
“Lobo, the wolf everybody knew was a coyote, was adopted by the Wolfpack several years ago as their official mascot,” the paper reported. “However, the cheerleaders have decided that Lobo is getting too old for the kind of rabble-rousing that goes on at football games and pep rallies, and they are making arrangements for a nice retirement home for the Wolfpack veteran.”
Head cheerleader Tom Dimmock told the paper that Lobo was being kept on a farm with a large wooded area where he could run free. But he also noted that Lobo sometimes had difficulty behaving as the NC State mascot.
“As a coyote, Lobo was not meant to be tame,” Dimmock said. “He was just too hard to handle at games. The squad was afraid to take him out of the cage for fear he would get away and hurt someone.”
When it was later announced that Lobo was going to be put to sleep, a state representative led a campaign to save the coyote. As a result, Lobo III was donated to the N.C. Zoo, which was under construction at the time. But before the zoo was finished, Lobo died of heartworms.
Back on campus, NC State adopted a full-fledged, two-thirds wolf as its new mascot.