The 69th WVU Mountaineer mascot, Mikel Hager, ceremonially passes the rifle to incoming 70th Mountaineer mascot, Braden Adkins, at the Mountainlair Friday (April 26). (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Adkins officially takes over as WVU Mountaineer mascot during rifle passing ceremony

West Virginia University tradition continues with Braden Adkins formally accepting the role of the Mountaineer mascot during a symbolic ceremony Friday (April 26) at the Mountainlair, marking the end of Mikel Hager’s time in the position.

Adkins, who served as the 2023-24 alternate mascot, is a junior economics major from Richwood.

He was named the 2024-25 Mountaineer mascot March 2 during the men’s basketball game at the Coliseum and will make his first official appearance as the Mountaineer during the Gold-Blue Spring Football Game Saturday (April 27) at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 70th Mountaineer mascot to represent West Virginia University and my beloved home state,” Adkins said. “I am excited to don the buckskins and have the privilege and opportunity to meet new and wonderful people as I serve as your Mountaineer. I am so proud to represent the flagship university of West Virginia and Mountaineer Nation everywhere.”

Hager, an exercise physiology major from Madison, said he will forever cherish the memories he made as the Mountaineer.

“Having the opportunity to serve as the 69th Mountaineer has been the best experience of my entire life,” Hager said. “I am beyond excited to watch Braden make memories that I know will last him a lifetime as well. I know Mountaineer Nation is in good hands moving forward.”

Speakers at the rifle ceremony included former Mountaineer mascots Brady Campbell (2006-07), Jonathan Kimble (2012-13) and Colson Glover (2020-21). Glover also served as moderator along with Steven Treadway.

The event was presented by the Mountaineer Mascot Program and Mountain Honorary.

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