When Troy Clemons is not out on the field or court sidelines, firing the rifle and cheering the West Virginia University Mountaineers to victory as the Mountaineer Mascot, you can find him in the classrooms of the WVU College of Business and Economics as a first-year graduate student earning his MBA.
Clemons, a native of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, was recently renamed the Mountaineer Mascot for the 2017-18 year, and it is easy to see why. With a thick beard, a heart full of pride for the Mountain State and love for the state’s flagship University, he truly exemplifies what it means to be a Mountaineer.
Read about his time as the Mountaineer and in the MBA program in the following Q&A.
- After earning your undergraduate degree in sport management from WVU, why did you decide to earn a MBA?
- Why did you want to be the Mountaineer Mascot?
- How has your experience been as the Mountaineer over the past year?
- What is your favorite activity to do as the Mountaineer?
- What has your experience in the MBA program been like?
- You have such a strong work ethic and love for the state. Where do you think that comes from?
The MBA – obviously, it’s a great program here. But the sport field is not a very broad field, and there’s business in almost every aspect of any industry. So, getting a MBA really helped me open myself up to a lot more. And anytime you can continue your education, I think it’s really important because nowadays when people look at a bachelor’s degree, it doesn’t carry the same weight as it might have 20 years ago.
I grew up in West Virginia. I’ve lived here my whole life. We would come up for every football game and for as many basketball games as we could. Or, we were always watching them on TV, cheering them on. We would have people over to the house. For me, everything pretty much revolved around the Mountaineers. It was pretty cool.
I didn’t play football or anything growing up because our games were on Saturdays, and I couldn’t miss the Mountaineer games. It’s always been Mountaineers this, Mountaineers that. When I got to WVU, I realized the Mountaineer has a little more of a role than just sports, and I thought, ‘What better way for me to give back to the University that has taken me in and given me all these opportunities? What better way to give back to them than by being the Mascot and going out and being an ambassador for the University?’
It’s been great. I’ve gotten to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to do. I’ve been able to go throughout the state and interact with the youth. The beauty of the Mountaineer is you can relate to everybody. It’s not just for the kids. It’s not just for the adults. Everybody can relate to the Mountaineer because they are either hoping to be a Mountaineer soon or are already a Mountaineer.
Everybody knows the saying, “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.” That’s definitely true, and not just in the state, but throughout the nation. I’ve had a chance to go to multiple alumni chapters. We have the best alumni support of any university. No matter where I am, whether it’s Oklahoma for a football game or Atlanta or South Carolina for an alumni event, there’s always that Flying WV, and everybody can use that to connect.
Going to grade schools is a lot of fun because I remember when I was that kid sitting at that desk. Honestly, I didn’t apply to any other college or university. WVU was the only place because I knew my heart was set. I knew if that was the only place I wanted to go that I had to work hard, and if I earned the right grades, then I would have no problem getting in. So, I worked hard to achieve that goal. And if I can go in to talk to these kids and try to get them to maybe strive for the same goals and continue to work hard, I know I made an impact. Seeing their eyes light up when I walk in is pretty cool because I remember when I was in their shoes and how I felt about the University growing up.
It’s been great. I’ve been opened up to a lot more opportunities through it. The Center for Career Development does a great job with us as far as what our next steps are going be because ultimately, that’s our goal. That’s why everyone comes to college – to get a job. It’s definitely prepared me more.
The international business class I’m taking this semester has been a big help because not only are we looking in the United States at all the different places we can go and how we can work in those businesses. Now, we are taking it to a different level and looking at what other places are doing as far their businesses go and as far as their economy goes. We also have the required international trip this summer. I’m really looking forward to that because I’ve never been out of the country, and I may have never gone out of the country if it wasn’t for the MBA program. I’m going to London on the post-Brexit trip to see how they have adapted since leaving the EU and how that’s going to impact the UK. The Brexit thing is really interesting.
Its comes from being a part of it. I’ve been very lucky. My dad was a West Virginia history teacher, and he also coached sports. My sister also played sports. We were always traveling throughout the state to watch games and he was teaching me about the state as we were going through it. Driving up to Morgantown, I would have to name the county seats as we drove by them. There has always been this passion for the state, and you always have to remember where you came from.