Kickoff Tee Retriever Cori Back for Another Season

Angelo Genetti, Cori and Lisa Tell on the football field.
Cori shares a moment with her owner, Lisa Tell, and kicker Angelo Genetti. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

UC Davis’ “rocket dog” has achieved liftoff, retrieving the kickoff tee for another season of Aggie football.

Cori, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever owned by Veterinary Medicine Professor Lisa Tell ’87, DVM ’91, is building a relationship with a new kicker this season and continues to delight fans on and off the field.

Cori retrieved the tee after kicker Angelo Genetti sent the football flying during Saturday’s 23-21 win over Southern Utah University, but that wasn’t the first time they’ve worked together.

“Cori has already had sessions with Angelo that has allowed her to develop a working relationship with him,” Tell said. “The one thing that I have really noticed about Cori when she is hanging out with Angelo is that she seems really relaxed.”

Always learning

In addition to learning to work with a new person, Cori has had to adapt to a new type of kickoff tee with a slightly different shape.

Angelo Genetti poses for a photo with Cori.
Kicker Angelo Genetti is building a relationship with Cori, who retrieves the tee after home game kickoffs. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Genetti, a sophomore majoring in sociology, said the human-canine partnership boosts morale for the entire team during games and practices.

“This is the first time I’ve had an animal retrieve the kickoff tee for me, something I've never witnessed anywhere else,” he said, noting that Cori gets lot of affection when she’s retrieving the tee. “Cori is undeniably a special dog, and she's yet another reason why UC Davis football stands out as something truly exceptional.”

Tell said Genetti has shown an intuitive ability to recognize the types of situations that work best for Cori, like when others aren’t practicing on the field.

That could be because Genetti has spent time around other dogs, namely Romeo, his family’s 7-year-old Bernese mountain dog and  poodle mix. He sees Romeo whenever he visits his hometown of Linden.


All across campus

Tell is making sure Cori meets as many Aggies as possible, appearing with her at events like Moove-In, UC Davis Stores events for new students and more. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan will even release Cori during this weekend’s “Back to School” game against Eastern Washington.

Cori can be seen on social media and on stickers passed out at football games and other events. Her unofficial ambassador role has branched out into other sports like basketball and baseball, but for now she, Tell and Genetti are focused on football season.

“The working partnership between Cori and the kicker is multifaceted and occurs over time,” Tell said. “So far she has been so lucky to work with two kickers who are exceptionally enthusiastic, kind, and truly seem to enjoy working with a retrieving dog.”


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Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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