Nittany Lion named Mascot Hall of Fame inductee

State College, Centre County, Pa. - Since 1904 Penn State's vitality has been represented by the Nittany Lion.

According to the University 51 people, including this year's mascot., have worn the coveted suit.

Brad Cornali, former Nittany from '95-'96, said "All of us that have put the suit on understand the magnitude of what it means."

Over the years the Nittany Lion's identity has become less advertised.

Cornali remembers the golden rule: Never speak a word while you're in character.

"You could even hear people talk about the lion. And just kinda laugh, like that's me and you know it was kind of a neat feeling," Cornali said.

The current mascot couldn't tell us what it takes to get the gig.

But luckily, Curtis White, Penn State's Spirit Director, speaks lion.

He said you must maintain a 3.0 GPA and be mindful of time management.

"They have to be a strong student. Understand what Penn State means to our fans and alumni and really take that seriously," White said.

Andy Bailey, former Nittany Lion from '75-'77,  remembers what it was like to amplify a crowd and keep the momentum going.

"It's like electricity is flowing throughout your whole body," Bailey said.

And the not so glamorous moments; "I had one suit. I had to wash the suit. I washed it in Woolite. I had to brush it out with a dog brush to make it fluffy," Bailey said.

As they continue to pass the baton, the former Nittany Lions reminisce about their days attending 350 athletic events, and special appearances for birthdays, even weddings.

"It is a 40 and plus hour a week job," Bailey said.

Tim Durant, former Nittany Lion mascot from '91-'93, said "You met everyone. You hit every corner of the university."

Rob Sterling, former Nittany Lion mascot from '84-'86, said "It absolutely as to be the badge of courage and honor, everything the university stands for."

All of that hard work is being recognized.

The Nittany Lion will be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame for the class of 2018.  

It is the only collegiate inductee to receive the honor this year.

"He truly deserves it because he does a lot of great things for our university and I think it's something that's really outstanding. We're really excited about it," White said.

In 2018 the Mascot Hall of Fame is expected to unveil a facility to showcase all of the inductees in Indiana.


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