A former KU student won big on “Wheel of Fortune.” Wichita Eagle File photo
A former KU student won big on “Wheel of Fortune.” Wichita Eagle File photo


How did former KU mascot prepare to win big on ‘Wheel of Fortune’?

By Kaitlyn Alanis


November 29, 2017 10:25 AM

He was wearing a bowtie instead of a beak, but a former KU Big Jay mascot got to take a spin on “Wheel of Fortune” during Tuesday’s episode.

Kansan Phil Bennett had auditioned for the show at a Kansas City Hotel, WIBW reported, and was selected to fly to California for the show.

And not just a former KU student, Bennett received his MBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, and the Jesuit university also gave Bennett an online spotlight.

“It’s not hard to imagine Phil Bennett, ’11, ’15 MBA, on TV,” the university said in a release. “Bennett has a passion for singing, an outgoing, affable personality and a fondness for bowties that seems meant for the stage.”

But he knew he would need more than his bowtie to perform well on the show.

Bennett prepared by watching hours of the show at his grandparents’ house, downloading a mobile version of the game to practice on the go and by DVRing episodes to watch and analyze.

“I tried to pick up on some of the best practices of the best players and became more and more familiar with the pace of play,” he told Rockhurst University.

His preparations certainly paid off.

The Overland Park contestant won just under $20,000 during the half-hour show, according to WIBW. The media outlet reported that he was unable to solve the bonus round puzzle worth a grand prize of $35,000.

“I 10 out of 10 would recommend the experience to anyone and everyone that has ever thought about auditioning,” Bennett told Rockhurst University. “It was an experience that I’ll never forget. I hope to see lots of Hawks on the show in the future.”

A former K-Stater has created a fun video called “The Animoji Wabash Cannonball." (Video courtesy of Zaldy Doyungan / @ZaldyTV )


Kaitlyn Alanis: 316-269-6708, @kaitlynalanis