West Virginia Mountaineer
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|West Virginia Mountaineer|
|University||West Virginia University|
|Description||Person in buckskins and coonskin cap, carrying a rifle|
In the 1930s the unofficial mascot appeared at West Virginia University sporting events wearing flannel shirts, bearskin capes and coonskin caps. At first volunteers, Burton “Irish” Crow, Lawson Hill, William “Buckwheat” Jackson, among others made appearances throughout the season.
Beginning in 1934, The Monticola (the WVU yearbook) sponsored a contest to determine the male senior who had contributed most to the university throughout his four years in college. This male was entitled to be, “The Mountaineer.” However, within the next decade the choice shifted to a person who suited the role. This dropped the restriction of a male senior, who had done the most for the university.
In 1936, the Mountain honorary society selected Boyd Harrison “Slim” Arnold to be the first official “buckskin-clad”.
The Mountain honorary society was not active for three years, during this time the president of the student body was responsible for choosing the Mountaineer. (3)
Currently, The Mountain Honorary Society still chooses the Mountaineer through an intense application and interview process. Finalists are decided based on outstanding character and enthusiasm. Finalists then compete in a cheer-off at a WVU basketball game. The winner receives a tuition waiver or scholarship.
The Mountaineer was first used in commerce in 1972 and registered as a U.S. trademark in 1985. Mountaineer’s retired rifles, and costumes are housed in a glass case in the Vandalia lounge of the Mountainlair, located on the downtown campus. In 1950, The Mountain Honorary Society held a Mountaineer Statue Festival raising $15,000. This bought the bronze statue of the Mountaineer in the Mountainlair front lawn.
Natalie Tennant, who became the West Virginia secretary of state in January 2009, served as the first female Mountaineer in 1990. Rebecca Durst was the only other woman to fill the role in 2009. Rock Wilson is the only Mountaineer to serve the position for three years (1991-1994).
The current West Virginia University Mountaineer is Jonathan Kimble. He is a from Franklin, WV in Pendleton County. Jonathan Kimble is a graduate student at WVU, majoring in Industrial & Labor Relations.
West Virginia University Athletic Traditions
One of the most beloved of all West Virginia athletic traditions, the Mountaineer first appeared at WVU sporting events in the late 1920s.
Daily Athenaeum articles indicate that designating individuals to serve as the Mountaineer started as early as 1927. Clay Crouse was designated that year followed in 1932 by Burton Crow and then Bill Fahey. Others may have served. However, it was not until 1934-35 when trackster Lawson Hill was selected by Mountain that a more stable process was established. By 1937, the Mountaineer was being selected on an annual basis by Mountain.
The Mountaineer is a member of the student body chosen by Mountain for outstanding enthusiasm, character, service to the community and academics. The mascot symbolizes the proud and rich heritage of the Mountain State and its people.
However, the Mountaineer doesn't just have responsibilities associated with athletics. The mascot is expected to appear at community and alumni events to promote Mountaineer spirit statewide.
Candidates apply to become the Mountaineer by writing essays about why they want the position. From there, they are interviewed by Mountain members and representatives of the athletic department and student affairs. The top candidates are then invited to "cheer-off" at the next-to-last home basketball event each season. There, the candidates are judged and the Mountaineer is announced at the season's final basketball game.
Boyd H. "Slim" Arnold, a physical education major from Bayard in Grant County, was the first Mountaineer selected to serve three years in succession (1937-38-39) and was the longest tenured until Rock Wilson equaled it in 1993. (1991-92-93).
During Arnold's tenure, he became the first Mountaineer to wear the now traditional buckskin uniform. Minutes of Mountain meetings from the late 1930s indicate that a donor gave the Honorary several deerskins asking that a buckskin costume be made for the Mountaineer. Prior to that the Mountaineer wore overalls, a flannel shirt, coonskin cap, a sheep or bear skin type vest and carried a rifle.
The post has remained relatively unchanged since that time. The costume is tailored to fit each year's winner, and male Mountaineers customarily grow beards during their tenure. The rifle is a true flintlock that requires the user to become schooled in the amount of powder required to fire the charge.
In 1991, Natalie Tennant of Fairview became the first female selected as Mountaineer. 
The responsibilities of the Mountaineer Mascot are set forth by the Mountaineer Advisory Committee Manual Regulations. The Mountaineer must attend every away and home West Virginia Mountaineers football game, as well as every home men’s and women’s basketball games. They might also be required to travel with the team as determined by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The mascot is also encouraged to attend certain events such as alumni events, community events, and visit the WVU Children’s Hospital. It is said that the Mountaineer may make close to 300 appearances per year. He or she is also responsible for the cleaning, care, and handling of the rifle and no one else is allowed to fire it except for himself or herself or the Alternate Mountaineer. Additionally, the Mountaineer is expected to follow a proper code of conduct at all times. While in costume, the mascot cannot be under the influence of alcohol or use tobacco at any time, and may not accept money or gifts for appearances or endorse a company or product for profit.
"The guy who makes the rifle, I go to him for gunpowder, and he gives me however much I need. We get a new rifle approximately every eight to 10 years that’s passed down from each Mountaineer to Mountaineer. The buckskin is made out of real deerskin. They’re custom to each Mountaineer, and we get to keep those." - Mountaineer Mascot, Jonathan Kimble 
The Mountaineer Mascot is a part of many traditions at West Virginia University. Most of them are associated with sporting events. It is the Mountaineer who leads the football team onto Mountaineer Field every game, firing his or her rifle into the air. The Mountaineer also leads the fans, along with the cheerleaders, on the football field and the basketball court in the Let’s Go Mountaineers cheer and other cheers.
Other schools with Mountaineer Mascot
- Appalachian State University
- Berea College
- Eastern Oregon University
- Mansfield University
- Mount Saint Mary's College 
- Schreiner College
- Southern Vermont College
- Western State College
List of Mountaineers
|List of Mountaineers|
|Clay Crouse – 1927|
|Burdette “Irish” Crow – 1932-33|
|William “Bill” Fahey – 1933-34|
|Lawson M. Hill – 1934-35 (deceased)|
|William “Buckwheat” Jackson – 1936-37 (deceased)|
|Boyd H. “Slim” Arnold – 1937-39 (deceased)|
|Julius W. Singleton Jr. – 1940-1941 (deceased)|
|William F. Gott – 1942-43 (deceased)|
|War Years – 1943-44|
|Robert L. Carr – 1945|
|James G. Couglin – 1946 (deceased)|
|Sidney H. Gillis – 1947|
|Matthew W. Harrison Jr. – 1948 (deceased)|
|John P. Russell – 1949|
|Thomas A. Deveny III – 1950|
|James Almond – 1951 (deceased)|
|Dan B. Fleming – 1952|
|Dan R. Oliker – 1953|
|John Coyner – 1954|
|Fred S. Pattison – 1955 (deceased)|
|Larry Reppert – 1956|
|James L. McCoy – 1957 (deceased)|
|Robert H. Allen – 1958|
|David L. Ellis – 1959|
|William R. McPherson – 1960 (deceased)|
|Jerry S. Sturm – 1961|
|William D. Thompson – 1962|
|William W. “Buck” Rogers Jr. – 1963|
|Edward S. Pritchard – 1964-65 (deceased)|
|Kenneth B. Fonville – 1966|
|Louis A. Garvin Jr. – 1967|
|Frederick G. Reel – 1968, 1969|
|Douglas F. Townshend – 1970|
|Robert S. Lowe – 1971|
|Mark Lothes – 1972|
|Stuart A. Wolpert – 1973, 1974|
|Junior Taylor – 1975|
|Jerome E. Scherer – 1976|
|Bruce D. Heisler – 1977|
|Richard D. Poling – 1978|
|James Campbell – 1979|
|Cecil C. Graham – 1980|
|Andy M. Mergler – 1981|
|Ed R. Cokeley – 1981|
|Robert E. Richardson – 1982|
|Michael G. Russell – 1983|
|Mark Boggs – 1984|
|Tim S. Nilan – 1985|
|Matt P. Zervos – 1986|
|Tom E. Dulaney Jr. – 1987|
|Dan C. Pearson – 1988|
|Benjamin F. White – 1989|
|Natalie E. Tennant – 1990|
|Rock S. Wilson – 1991, 1992, 1993|
|John R. Stemple – 1994, 1995|
|Andrew R. Cogar – 1996, 1997|
|Brandon S. Flower – 1998, 1999|
|Scott W. Moore – 2000, 2001|
|Trey Hinrichs – 2002, 2003|
|Derek Fincham – 2004, 2005|
|Brady Campbell – 2006, 2007|
|Michael Squires – 2008|
|Rebecca Durst – 2009|
|Brock Burwell - 2010, 2011|
|Jonathan Kimble - 2012, 2013|
- Sullivan, Ken (2006). "The Mountaineer". The West Virginia Encyclopedia.
- Ambler, Charles H. (1951). A History of Education in West Virginia. Huntington, WV: Standard Printing and Publishing.
- Doherty, Jr., William T.; Summers, Festus O. (1982). West Virginia University, Symbol of Unity In a Sectionalized State. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.