Posts filed under ‘Nittany Lion mascot’
Cool cats: Hey, it’s snowing in State College today. It’s been doing a lot of that lately. On Saturday (when it was also snowing), our friend Bill Zimmerman from the Public Information office in Old Main got this terrific shot of a couple of Lions frolicking in the white stuff. If you haven’t already seen it, enjoy.
Honored, again: QB Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman have been named True Freshman All-Americans by 247 Sports, the latest postseason honors bestowed on members of the Nittany Lion football team. If you’re scoring at home, the list from just the past few days includes all-Big Ten honors for eight players from ESPN and BTN; first-team All-America notice from CBS Sports and the Sporting News for junior receiver Allen Robinson; and team MVP honors for senior defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.
Dog, gone: Readers of a certain age will remember Nipper, the attentive dog whose iconic image became the symbol for record-player manufacturer RCA Victor. For more than half a century, a stained glass version of Nipper—four of him, actually—overlooked the city of Camden, N.J., from his perch atop the RCA Victor factory. Those windows came down more than 40 years ago, and somehow one of them ended up at Penn State. Today, the Daily Journal has the story of how the window we’d kept in storage on campus recently returned home to South Jersey. It’s a fun story, not least because the historian charged with the window’s safekeeping is named Pane.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Tale of two Penn States: As the search for a new president continues, Inside Higher Ed published this piece, examining how Penn State might appear to a potential leader: “… candidates may be asking themselves which Penn State they see: one led in part by ‘the search committee that couldn’t shoot straight,’ or a solid academic and financial entity with a long history and a bright future.” Donald Heller, the former head of Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, and an anonymous Penn State faculty member are quoted in the story.
Spanier v. Freeh: Attorneys for Louis Freeh and former Penn State president Graham Spanier are headed to court early next year. Back in July 2013, Spanier filed a defamation lawsuit in response to the Freeh report, which alleged Spanier helped cover up Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of children. The argument goes to trial in the Centre County Courthouse on Jan. 9, 2014.
Master Key: Keegan-Michael Key, of Comedy Central’s hit show Key & Peele, is pretty much my best friend. And by “best friend,” I mean I interviewed him once. We chatted on the phone earlier this week (for an upcoming story in the magazine — stay tuned) and Key ’96g was not only hysterically funny, but also incredibly nice and easygoing—which helped calm my out-of-control, omg-I’m-talking-to-a-comedy-genius nerves. BFF status aside, this is good news: A Key & Peele movie, produced by comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow, is in the works. Now I’m just waiting on my invite to the premiere.
Think positive: So, last night’s men’s basketball game vs. Bucknell didn’t go so well. But let’s look on the bright side. More specifically, let’s look at this adorable photo of a miniature lion high-fiving the real deal, captured during the game by Onward State‘s Bobby Chen (@rysChen) and posted on Twitter this morning.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
With the Nittany Lions opening their first Division 1 hockey season in the brand-new Pegula Ice Arena tonight, a thought occurred to us: Can the lion mascot skate?
So we put in a call to Curtis White, adviser to the Nittany Lion mascot and the cheerleaders, and asked him a few questions about what they’ll be doing at hockey games. Here’s what we learned.
Will the lion and cheerleaders be involved in ice hockey games at Pegula?
They’ll be there tonight. In terms of “stunting,” it’s not like a football game, so we can only do minor things. But, for example, we’re hoping to have the lion and a couple of cheerleaders run out onto the ice carrying the big “We Are Penn State” flags at the beginning of the game.
When you say “run out,” you actually mean “skate out,” right?
Right. They’ll be on skates.
Can the lion ice skate?
He can skate. He already had some skating ability, but he also took some ice skating lessons this summer near his home in Delaware, and he’s been working with someone up here that the ice hockey folks suggested.
Was skating part of tryouts for mascot candidates in the past?
No, not at all.
Will it be in the future?
Yes, that what we’re looking at doing. I don’t want to eliminate someone based on skating ability, but if they can skate, it’ll be a plus.
There aren’t many stoppages of play in ice hockey, just the intermissions. What can the lion and cheerleaders do at a hockey game?
This first game, we’re just going to feel it out. I contacted other schools that use cheerleaders at hockey games, and they gave us suggestions. The band will be there too, and we’ll feed off that. The lion might go out on the ice at some point and skate around a bit, but no skits yet. We’ll see how things go at the first game, and then see what we can do to make things better as the season goes on.
Where will the band and cheerleaders sit?
We’ll be in the middle of the student section.
Will we see the Lion driving the Zamboni?
He might not drive the Zamboni. But you might see him get dumped out of it. There’s a space inside the Zamboni where he can go in and hide, and during the club team’s games, he’d go in there and then get dumped out on the ice. The fans loved it.
Tina Hay, editor
If you’ve received your copy, we hope the cover got your attention. As Tina explained last week, our new art director, Marc Kauffman, enlisted the help of photo illustrator Aaron Goodman to create some cool designs featuring the Nittany Lion mascot for our cover story. Marc did some digging in the University archives and found tons of great photos of Nittany Lions past. (Be sure to check out the lion of the early 1960s, which we all agreed is the, uh, strangest iteration of the suit.)
For another feature, senior editor Lori Shontz ’91 traveled to Cuba on an Alumni Association trip back in March. As part of the cultural exchange—leisure trips to Cuba are forbidden for American visitors—Lori learned a lot about the country and its culture, including some contradictions that baffled even her Cuban tour guides. Lori tends to downplay her photography skills, but you’ll see that she captured some fantastic photos along the way, too.
Also in this issue: a profile of author David Morrell ’67g, ’70g, who’s written more than 30 thriller novels over the course of his career, including First Blood, on which the movie Rambo was based. In the feature, he sheds some light on the inspiration behind his latest novel, Murder as a Fine Art.
Other good stuff you’ll find in the July/August magazine: a profile of Nittany Lion offensive lineman John Urschel ’12, ’13g, who’s working toward his second master’s degree in mathematics; a recap of May’s Board of Trustees election, with a look at the three new members; and my thoughts on completing (OK, surviving) “Murph,” a CrossFit workout to honor Lt. Michael Murphy ’98.
Let us know what you think of the new issue. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
I mentioned back in April how psyched we were to welcome Marc Kauffman to the magazine staff. Marc joined us after 20 years at Rodale Press, the last six as deputy art director of Runner’s World magazine. We love Marc’s newsstand-magazine experience, his talents, and his good-natured personality … and we also love his Rolodex.
OK, no one actually has Rolodexes anymore. But Marc has a brain that’s just crammed with the names of first-rate photographers, illustrators, and photo-illustrators with whom he’s worked over the years. And he turned to a few of them right away as he designed his first issue for us—our forthcoming July-August issue.
One of those contacts is Aaron Goodman, whom Marc hired to create several photo illustrations for our July-August cover story, on the history of the Nittany Lion mascot. Goodman’s portfolio includes some really cool composite photos, like the one he did for a 2006 Sports Illustrated cover (shown here) called “A Team for All Time.” Below is the full-length version of the same photo-illustration, which we’re using here with his permission.
(You really should click on that photo to see it bigger. It’s great.)
To get a feel for what was involved in creating that dugout photo—let’s just say there were a lot of body doubles involved—you can read this short article at the Sports Illustrated site. This video from Goodman’s own website, showing how he created a particular ad for Nike, is pretty cool too.
What Goodman did for us for our Lion mascot photo essay and cover wasn’t quite this elaborate. But we like it a lot, and we hope you will too. Maybe we’ll show you a sneak preview next week.
Tina Hay, editor
It was a unique day at Penn State, indeed.
Wednesday was the annual Old Main Open House, a day to celebrate Penn State’s history. The event — which also featured free food, arts and crafts and guided tours of Old Main — was hosted by the Lion Ambassadors. When I stopped by at 3 p.m., there were about 75 visitors mulling around the area, taking in the partly sunny April afternoon.
As visitors waited for their guided tours — highlighted by a trip up to the Bell Tower for a scenic view of campus and downtown — they munched on free popcorn and frozen ices.
At 4, President Rodney Erickson opened his doors for a one-hour office hour session. Students could stop by to talk about anything — or just get to know the president.
Visitors also participated in tug-of-war, cider scrap, and push ball scrap — better known as scrap games. It’s OK if you don’t know what scrap game are. I needed a brush up on the term, as well. Between 1885-1916, freshmen and sophomores would duke it out for bragging rights in a series of competitive games. Among the visitors who seemed to enjoy the revival of the competitions was the Nittany Lion, who apparently participated in a few games of tug-of-war before I arrived.
This year’s Open House featured some new surprises — notably Boomer, the soon-to-be 6-year-old mini mule who hung out by the HUB and was impersonating Old Coaly, Penn State’s first mascot. She and her handler made the 3-hour, 45-minute drive from Butler County the morning of the event.
After I said hello to “Old Coaly,” a tour group walked by. What appeared to be the younger sibling of a prospective student turned to his father and asked, “Do they always have a mule hanging around here?”
Emily Kaplan, intern
We just wrapped up our annual Reunion Weekend here at University Park—members of the Class of 1960 were here to celebrate their 50th reunion, and grads from other class years came back as well. One of the activities I helped to staff was the All-Class Luncheon on Saturday at the Penn Stater Conference Center, and I thought I’d share a few photos I took at that event.
First we have a couple of returning grads posing for photos with the lion mascot…
…and then later the attendees discovered that the lion is none other than President Spanier, who, after taking the lion head off, gave some remarks about the state of things at Penn State.
A highlight of the lunch was a performance by some musical theatre students:
Among the attendees at the luncheon were not only the returning grads but also a group of Penn Staters who had just been recognized on Friday as Distinguished Alumni. Perhaps the most prominent of those was Richard Trumka ’71, president of the AFL-CIO.
The luncheon closed with a Penn State tradition: everyone singing the alma mater.
Afterward, many of the attendees piled onto buses for campus tours led by the Lion Ambassadors. The group below was especially lucky and got to ride on “Molly Trolley” instead of a school bus.
All in all, it seemed like everyone was pretty happy to be back.
Tina Hay, editor
As if the super-cool ESPN Magazine feature on the Nittany Lion weren’t enough, here comes another in-depth look at the mascot, Heart of the Lion. The documentary, which will premiere at 8 tonight on WPSU (Channel 3 in State College), traces the mascot’s history back to 1939 and follows eight students as they try out for the role. Jerry Sawyer, who produced the documentary for Penn State Public Broadcasting, says in this media release, “It was such a great experience to work on putting this show together, and a real treat to meet 15 of the former mascots and see how very humble and Penn State proud they all still are.”
The Alumni Association was the lead sponsor for the production of Heart of the Lion. If you miss the show tonight, the documentary will air again throughout the winter. Check your local listings for more information.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
This week’s issue of ESPN Magazine has a great piece on college mascots, centered almost entirely on our own Nittany Lion mascot. The writer, Larry Smith, followed current mascot Clint Gyory around during Homecoming weekend and wrote a terrific article, accompanied by excellent photos by John Loomis. He talks about the hilarious skit that got Gyory the job, about what kind of shape the lion suit is in after a football game (says Gyory: “It smells like death”), and about some of the rules of being a mascot (never stop moving, never talk, never take off your head).
A fact I didn’t know: The Lion suit is machine washable.
Here’s a little more:
The suit is stored in the Lion’s Den—also known as the basement of the house Clint shares with four roommates—next to a boom box, cases of ramen noodles and a freezer stuffed with chicken wings. Four backup Lion suits hang next to it, all stored out of sight. “You don’t let people see it, get in it, play with it,” he says. “You keep the suit safe.”
The article isn’t available online unless you pay to become an “ESPN Insider,” but you should be able to pick up a hard copy at your local newsstand. The date on the magazine is Nov. 30, so it should be available for a few more days, I think. It’s the one with Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson on the cover.
Tina Hay, editor