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The Nittany Lion is more than a mascot.
The Nittany Lion is not only a symbol of Penn State athletics. He does more than push-ups and crowd surfing at football games. He is an ambassador who makes more than 250 public appearances every year and represents the long-standing traditions of Penn State.
Meet the men who wore the suit.
Since 1939 more than 40 proud Penn State students have ruffled the Lion's ears and worn the blue and white scarf. This documentary introduces you to 13 former mascots and several hopefuls.
Explore the rich history of the Nittany Lion -- from the physical demands to the relationships with fans, especially the youngest ones. And follow in the footsteps of the newest Lion as he prepares for his debut in front of 110,000 enthusiasts inside Beaver Stadium.
This Lion has heart.
Heart of the Lion reveals the depth of character and the range of talent that the Lion Mascot must have in order to fulfill his dream and carry on the Penn State tradition.
Watch the Trailer
January 5, 2010, 2:16 pm
W. Thomas Kelly
Gene Whetstone was, in fact, the first Nittany Lion, and he ordered the suit, I believe. He wore it for one football game at Penn's Franklin Field. Shortly thereafter he spotted me in Rec Hall and called me over. He said "Kelly, try this on". It was the Lion's suit and it fit. Thus, I became the LION. What fun ! My fraternity roommate was Jimmy Leyden who was the Blue Band Drum Major who tossed the baton in high fashion. We put on many skits with cheer leaders including those of opposing teamsI I continued as Lion until I transferred to the Harvard Business School in early1942. (Thus, I never graduated from Penn State and I don't appear in our year book) After I transferred Les Thurston of our fraternity (Beta Theta Pi) continued as the Lion, I believe. By the way, i do believe that the original Lion suit as purchased by Gene Whetstone was a better rendition of a Nittany Lion than the current one in use. There must be several pictures of the original suit from past years. The Beta House archives probably have some. Please give my best the Gene Whetstone. Tom Kelly, 1942 Graduating Class
January 17, 2010, 2:18 pm
We look forward to purchasing a copy of this documentary. We would like to note one thing. Although it is part of the criteria that the lion not speak while in costume, we attended a homecoming parade in the fall of 1975, and our daughter, who was one year old at the time, was holding her baby bottle. The lion took it from her and she began to wail! It was not offensive to us, her parents, at all, but being a true gentleman, he apologized for taking it and making her cry. We have photos of the moment and hold the lion in very high regard because he DID speak and apologize for this humorous moment. It meant a lot to us, especially my husband, a 1976 PSU architectural engineering grad.
The Nittany Lions
Who was the Nittany Lion when you were at Penn State?
Richard Hoffman 1922-1923
Leon Skinner 1927
|Saverio "Sam" F. Mirarchi||1973|
|Clint Gyory||2009 --|
Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this documentary possible.
Major Funding Provided by:
Penn State Alumni Association
Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park
The Student Book Store
Kolhepp Stone Centers
The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale
by Jackie R. Esposito and Steven L. Herb (1997)
Get your copy at Penn State Press