Posted: November 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

By Chelsey Corroto, Shishira Sreenivas, and Frances Silva

MORGANTOWN––The pride of West Virginia is showcased through its students, staff and most definably its mascot, the Mountaineer. The move to the Big XII Conference has increased the exposure of Mountaineer athletics to many new areas across the country.

From Iowa to the state of Texas, the WVU sports teams will be traveling farther than they ever did in the Big East and it is more important than ever to display Mountaineer pride as the University adjusts to life in the Big XII.

In the Big XII Conference the Mountaineer is the only mascot not hidden behind a costume.  Nevertheless, the buckskins and distinct rifle sound make the Mountaineer hard to miss.

Sonja Wilson, Kimble’s advisor and scheduling coordinator, says he was in the right place at the right time when the University moved to the Big XII.

“He’s had more opportunities than Brock [former Mountaineer] has had,” Wilson says.  “He was able to go to Texas for the Big 12 Media Day and then to Florida to do a big commercial with [WVU Head Football Coach] Coach Holgerson.”

This year Kimble has already committed to more than 400 events outside the realm of athletics. He will be traveling throughout West Virginia to schools, children’s hospitals and alumni events.

“Every single day I’m out traveling around, doing interviews, mingling with kids and children,” Kimble says. “Having the ability to interact with these young people is what I like most about my job.”

Now that Kimble is in the spotlight, he has had to adjust to the demands of being the Mountaineer. Wilson describes him as someone who is not only unique throughout the conference, but the country.

“Most of the mascots (at other schools) are 3 or 4 people and they can switch when one of them is sick,” Wilson says. “But he’s the Mountaineer not only for our school but for our state as well.” Kimble has had the opportunity to meet many of the Big XII mascots so far this year and says they are always interested in learning more about Morgantown and West Virginia University.

“I think it is important for the Big XII to see how passionate we are about our sports and our state, not only through our great sports teams, but our sportsmanship,” Jon says. “As the mascot I play a big role in that.”

Even at the Big XII media day in Texas, there were news professionals standing in line to take a photo with him. “I’m honored to be apart of the tradition at WVU,” Jon says. “[I] really had no clue going into it but I let a sigh of relief when I heard my name [announced] and ever since it’s been a dream come true.”