West Virginia University senior Jonathan Kimble had a chance to wear the Mountaineer Mascot buckskins this school year as the alternate to Brock Burwell.
Now, Kimble, a sports management major from Franklin, will don those, a coonskin cap and carry around a rifle more often, as he has been named the university's 62nd official Mountaineer Mascot for the 2012-13 school year.
"As the Mountaineer I'm so excited to be able to give back and have my passion evoked through the student section and the student body," Kimble said. "It is a great, great honor to serve the state and the university as the Mountaineer Mascot."
Jonathan Kimble, a senior sports management major at West Virginia University, will be the 62nd official Mountaineer Mascot.
Decked out in gold and blue, Kimble has always shown his pride for the state and his school. He's done so at WVU sporting events since he was little, at the 2012 Orange Bowl and even in California where he lived for two years.
Two weeks ago, Kimble was even starting "Let's Go Mountaineers!" cheers in the nose-bleed section of the Petersen Events Center following a Backyard Brawl win by the WVU men's basketball team.
"Wherever I've been, people always knew I loved West Virginia," he said. "Mountaineer pride is about being able to represent WVU wherever you are ... and sharing your love with those other sports fans and telling them how great WVU is."
Over the past year as the alternate Mountaineer, Kimble has learned the traits to become a better mascot. He learned the impact the mascot has on children and how important it is to set a good example.
"I've been able to give tours of the facilities and attend a number of athletic events, and it's just so awesome to see the children really look up to the Mountaineer and how it important to really give a good image to WVU," Kimble said.
Kimble will take over as Mountaineer Mascot from Burwell at 3 p.m. April 20 at the Passing of the Rifle Ceremony in the Mountainlair's Vandalia Lounge. He will lead the WVU football team out of the tunnels in the Gold-Blue Spring Game the next day.
Kimble also will be the first Mountaineer Mascot to step into a Big 12 Conference football stadium for the first time as a member of the conference.
Kimble is a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs leadership team and the treasurer of the Sports Management club. He also has been the co-chairperson of the Mountaineer Week 2011 Beard Growing competition and the president of Latter-day Saints Student Association. He also has been involved with the WVU Amizade Water Walk, WVU power lifting club, WVU running club and other intramural sports.
"Jonathan embodies a lot of the qualities and characteristics of the Mountaineer. He is passionate, charismatic and proud of our school and state heritage," said Ross Werner, chair of the Mountaineer Mascot selection committee. "He is a very enthusiastic individual who can motivate a crowd with ease. He will be a great advocate for our school, and I know he will represent the Mountaineer nation with enthusiasm, pride and class."
Kimble was announced as the newest Mascot at the Feb. 28 men's basketball game versus DePaul. Kimble was selected out of 13 total applicants who went through an interview with students, faculty and staff, and a cheer-off.
He was chosen among four finalists. The others were: Daniel Carlson, senior business administration and international management major from Winchester, Va.; B. Jay Hatfield, a senior athletic coaching education major from Madison; and Taylor Richmond, a graduate student in public administration from Mt. Hope. Hatfield will serve as the alternate Mountaineer Mascot for the 2012-2013 school year.