Jonathan Kimble is going to need his beard for another year.
A first-year West Virginia University graduate student in industrial and labor relations and sport management from Franklin, Kimble will continue to don his buckskins and coonskin cap and carry his musket around, as he has been tabbed again as the Mountaineer Mascot for the 2013-14 school year.
"It is the greatest honor to continue to represent our state and university as the Mountaineer," Kimble said. "I will continue to encourage all fans to conduct themselves in a manner that brings pride and honor to our teams and state."
In his first year as Mountaineer, Kimble led the university into the Big 12 Conference, making nearly 300 appearances since he took over in April 2012.
Kimble joins 16 former mascots who continued as Mountaineer mascot for a second year. Since 1990, nine students have repeated as Mountaineer.
"I have an undying love for the people at WVU and across the state that has grown immensely over the past year," he said. "I have realized that being the Mountaineer is more than just being the mascot at sporting events, but rather is a role that must be maintained at all times, whether in traditional outfit or not."
Outside of his mascot duties, he is a member of the WVU Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and the WVU Industrial Relations Student Association. He has been a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, the treasurer of the Sport Management Club, co-chairperson for the Mountaineer Week Beard Growing competition and president of the Latter-day Saints Student Association, among other activities.
"Jonathan has proven over the last year that he embodies the spirit and characteristics of a true Mountaineer. His pride and dedication to the position has been unparalleled as WVU went into the Big 12," said Derek Wetsch, chair of the Mountaineer mascot selection committee. "Now, he'll have a chance to do it all again, and we can't wait to see what's in store."
Kimble will start his duties for the 2013-14 year with the WVU spring football game at 2 p.m. on April 20 at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Kimble was announced as the Mountaineer for the 2013-14 school year at Saturday's (March 9) men's basketball game vs. Iowa State. He was selected out of a handful of applicants who went through interview with students, faculty and staff and a cheer-off in February.
He was chosen from four finalists. The others were: Michael Garcia, a sophomore political science major from Fairmont; B. Jay Hatfield, a senior athletic coaching education major from Madison; and Daryn Vucelik, a junior public relations major from Glen Dale, who will serve as the alternate Mountaineer mascot for the 2013-14 school year.
WVU has embraced the tradition of a Mountaineer mascot officially since 1934, but unofficial mascots started appearing at sporting events in the 1920s. There have been 62 Mountaineers at WVU.