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West Virginia's Mountaineer a welcome addition to the Big 12

The mountain man with a big smile and charm to spare is the best thing about WVU joining the league this season.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 13, 2012

Jonathan Kimble — you know him as college football's best mascot, West Virginia's Mountaineer — stood next to the tunnel at Boone Pickens Stadium, chatting a few moments after OSU's victory last Saturday.

Someone from West Virginia poked their head around the corner and hollered for Kimble to come on, lest he be left behind.

Yeah, right. The Mountaineer team jet would take off without Dana Holgorsen or Geno Smith before it would leave behind The Mountaineer.

Lots of things to like about West Virginia joining the Big 12. Exposure to a different part of America. Good basketball and good football (the Mountaineer defense not withstanding). Rabid fan base. The chance to hear the West Virginia band play “Country Roads,” which probably doesn't make up for the loss of the Aggie War Hymn but gives it the ol' college try.

But the best thing about West Virginia's addition is its mascot. And it doesn't hurt one bit that the current Mountaineer has a world-class smile and enough charm to fill the Shenandoah River.

We met in July, at the cement pond in Dallas' Westin Galleria, during Big 12 football media days, a show which Kimble absolutely stole.

We chatted again last week, and now Kimble has promised me a tour of Morgantown on Friday, before the OU game, complete with deer jerky.

Kimble has embraced the Big 12, and the Big 12 has embraced his Mountaineer.

“The Big 12's been great,” Kimble said, even accounting for West Virginia's four-game losing streak.

“Everyone down in Texas was very welcoming to us. Welcomed us to Austin, welcomed us to Lubbock.

“Down in Austin, great atmosphere, great game. Loved the warmer weather.”

Meanwhile, Lubbock “was really flat and dry and dusty. Austin was definitely the better of the two trips for sure.”

Kimble, ever the charmer, said he liked Oklahoma better than Texas. The drive from Tulsa to Stillwater afforded some hills that reminded him a little more of home.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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