MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University has named its 69th Mountaineer mascot.

Mikel Hager was introduced as the school’s next mascot during the second half of WVU men’s basketball’s final regular season home game Saturday. He will replace Mary Roush in the role in April.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. I’m really excited to get started,” Hager said. “I’ve got a lot of push-ups to do, so I’m looking forward to that, but it’s part of the job, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Hager is a native of Madison, West Virginia. He is a senior majoring in exercise physiology and minoring in psychology and communication studies.

“Boone County’s never had a Mountaineer before,” Hager said. “You have the entire state of West Virginia and your hometown behind [you]. It really means a lot.”

Hager is also a four-year member of the WVU cheer squad, known amongst Mountaineer fans for his recognizable hair style. But will the mullet stay?

“I don’t know. I’ll have to have a talk with some friends and family about that,” he said, later joking that he thinks his mullet resembles the Mountaineer mascot’s iconic coonskin cap.

Mikel Hager, WVU’s 69th Mountaineer mascot, is interviewed after receiving the rifle on March 4, 2023. (Photo by Sam Coniglio.)

Braden Adkins, of Richwood, and Christian Adkins, of Amherstdale, were also finalists for the mascot position.

Hager will officially replace Roush after the Passing of the Rifle ceremony in April.