American Football Database


West Virginia Mountaineer
University West Virginia University
Conference Big 12
Description Person in buckskins and coonskin cap, carrying a rifle
First seen 1930s


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.


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 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

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.
  • A History of Education in West Virginia, Charles H. (1951). 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.
  • [2]

External links

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