UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Cheerleading soon will be seeking the next Nittany Lion mascot, and current students who will be returning for the 2015-16 academic year at University Park are invited to apply.
Students can obtain an application by contacting Cheerleading Coach Curtis White at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 865-0565. Applications will be due Jan. 26, with interviews held Feb. 4 and an athletic tryout on Feb. 8. Cuts to narrow the candidate pool will follow each portion of the process.
The Nittany Lion mascot makes about 300 appearances per year, and candidates should have good time management.
“The Lion is at much more than just sporting events,” White said. “This includes everything from THON events, to appearances for Old Main, commercial and photo shoots, fundraisers, community service activities and appearances for local area organizations.”
Interested students will be required to provide three references and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. The application will include general questions such as “Why do you want to become the Nittany Lion mascot and what can you add to the position?”
A panel of approximately 11 judges will conduct the interview portion, and will include staff from the cheerleading program, Alumni Association, Athletic Department and other areas. The interview lasts 20-25 minutes and candidates should dress professionally
The athletic portion includes 50 one-armed push-ups, an original two-minute skit, 30 seconds of improv and the cowbell cadence. Background checks also will be performed for each candidate.
The student chosen as Nittany Lion mascot receives a 75 percent in-state tuition grant, a textbook scholarship, priority academic scheduling, access to team resources, Nike apparel and travel. But White cautions that the perks should not be a deciding factor.
“If the perks are the reasons you decide, you are doing it for the wrong reasons,” White said. “Being the Lion requires a great amount of work, and it’s about the honor and tradition of wearing the suit.”
Once selected, the new mascot begins almost immediately. The current student serving as mascot, who will graduate in May, will serve as a mentor for the first month. A backup Lion is also chosen and notified by phone after tryouts. The backup receives $800 per semester and textbooks.