Penn State football has a rich history dating back to 1887 when the school first fielded a team. Since then,...
Discover the incredible stories and traditions surrounding the Penn State's Nittany Lion mascot, the Nittany Lions nickname and gameday traditions that include the Blue Band, the Pregame Flip and more!
Penn State Mascot: The Nittany Lion
Penn State fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in college sports, and one thing they take pride in is their beloved Nittany Lion mascot. But where did this iconic symbol come from, and what makes it so special? We'll dive into the history and legacy of Penn State's Nittany Lion mascot, covering everything from its origins to its current prominence on game days.
Harrison D. "Joe" Mason, a Penn State alumnus, is credited with introducing the concept of the Nittany Lion as the university athletic symbol. While Mason was a graduate student at Princeton in 1904
Penn State's Lion Countered Princeton's Tiger
When Penn State's varsity baseball team visited Princeton in 1904, they were shown two Bengal tigers, a warning of the fierce competition they were about to face. But one member of the team, Harrison D. "Joe" Mason '07, rose to the challenge with a brilliant and imaginative response. He spun a tale of the Nittany Mountain Lion, the fearless king of the beasts who could defeat even the Tiger. This idea soon caught on and the Penn State Nittany Lion became the university's athletic symbol.
The Nittany Lion's persona has evolved, but it has always been a beloved character for Penn State fans. The mascot is now portrayed by a student dressed in a full-body lion costume, complete with a tail, and is one of the most active mascots in the NCAA. On game days, the Nittany Lion leads the Penn State fans in cheers and dance routines, and can often be seen in the stands motivating and interacting with the crowd. The mascot's charismatic and energetic performances create an electric atmosphere on campus that unites students, alumni, and fans alike.
Set in Stone
When it comes to Penn State, nothing quite captures the school's athletic spirit quite like the Nittany Lion Shrine. This impressive statue has been a beloved landmark since its dedication during homecoming back in 1942. Standing proudly near the Recreation Building, it's hard to miss this 13-ton sculpture made of Indiana limestone. Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or simply appreciate the artistry behind the design, the Nittany Lion Shrine is sure to inspire and impress. It's no wonder why so many visitors make this spot a "must-see" during their time on campus.
Penn State Nittany Lions Nickname Origination
From pee-wee to pro, the lion has been adopted as a fierce and noble mascot by countless teams across the country. But did you know that Penn State was actually the first college to embrace this majestic creature as their own? The Nittany Lion, to be exact, named after the valley where the university is located at the base of Mount Nittany. This mountain, in turn, was named after an Indian princess who captured the hearts and imaginations of generations to come. So whenever you see that roaring, clawing symbol of Penn State pride, remember the rich history and folklore that inspired it.
The Blue Band is Worth a Flip
Penn State's Blue Band is a force to be reckoned with on game day. With a rich history dating back to 1899, this marching band has been thrilling fans with its award-winning performances for over a century. No game day experience is complete without the stirring tunes of The Nittany Lion, Fight On, State, Victory, and the Penn State Alma Mater, all delivered by the talented musicians of the Blue Band. And for those who stick around after the game, the Blue Band delivers a post-game performance that will send chills down your spine. But perhaps the most exciting moment comes during the pregame drill when the drum major executes two forward flips, one on the 50-yard line and another on the South goal line. The Blue Band is truly a beloved tradition at Penn State and one that will continue to captivate audiences for generations to come.
The Lions Den is Named After a Beaver
Beaver Stadium is the home of Penn State's football team and has been since 1960. Named by a vote of the student body, it was chosen after James A. Beaver who served as governor from 1887-1891 and then as a trustee at Penn State from 1898 until his death in 1914.
Beaver had been an influential figure in Pennsylvania for many years before his time at Penn State, including serving with distinction as a Union Army general during the Civil War. He also helped found The Farmers’ High School which later became Penn State University, so it only seemed fitting that the stadium be named after him to honor his legacy.
Beaver Stadium stands proud today near Mount Nittany on The University Park campus of Penn State, seating over 107,000 passionate fans each year for all of their home games through football season – an impressive feat indeed! It’s one of the largest stadiums in college sports and features state-of-the-art amenities such as two video boards with HD displays and digital scoreboards along with Wi-Fi throughout its concourses so that even away games can still be enjoyed by those present tailgating inside or outside its walls.
College Football's 'Happy' Place
Although Penn State is located in the town of State College, Pennsylvania, you often hear the University's location referred to as Happy Valley by Nittany Lion fans and allumni. Happy Valley is a nickname for State College, Pennsylvania. The term Happy Valley was first used in the 1920s to describe the community around Penn State as a place of positive energy and enthusiasm. As more and more students enrolled at Penn State each year, the spirit of optimism and camaraderie that had been seen since the 1930s increased exponentially over time.
Penn State's Iconic Uniforms
As a Penn State fan, there's an overwhelming pride that comes with the iconic look of Penn State's football team. The blue and white uniforms with the traditional stripe on the helmet is an unforgettable sight for any football fan. But did you know that the original school colors were pink and black? When Penn State's football program began in 1887, the team adopted the first school colors. However, after prolonged exposure to the sun, the pink ultimately faded to white, leading to a change in color in the early 1890s. While the original colors may be long gone, the team's elaborate history with designing its helmet is fascinating.
For several decades, the Penn State football helmet has undergone a handful of changes, both subtle and dramatic. From 1957-1961, the team added numbers to the helmet, which were removed in the 1962 season. However, the numbers returned in the following decade, emblazoned on the helmet from 1967-1974. The numbers disappeared for good shortly after, and in 1988, the helmet took its final form.
The 1988 season saw Penn State football make its final changes to the football helmet design. The dark gray facemask that had been present on previous versions was replaced with a blue facemask that matched the helmet's iconic stripe. This change was a way to streamline the team's uniform, giving it a cleaner, more cohesive look.