They’ve been responsible for some of the great college football shocks of recent times, but what do you know about the Appalachian State Mountaineers mascot? We examine the history behind the man that represents the Mountaineers.
Who (or What) Is the Appalachian State Mountaineers Mascot?
Appalachian State has been playing football since 1928, but up until the early 1940s, the program had no formal mascot despite being known as the Mountaineers. That all changed in 1948 when a fictional freshman became the face of the program.
Born Dan’l Boone Yoseff, the Mountaineers mascot began life as an editorial solution to an admin error in the 1942 edition of “The Rhododendron.” Allegedly, the annual is one page short of being a perfectly balanced book, so a four-man brain trust created a fictional character to literally balance the books.
While none of the foursome credited with his creation would own up to sourcing the picture that accompanied Yoseff’s page in the annual, his undeniably “mountain man” appearance struck a chord with Mountaineers alum who remain fiercely in-tune with the mountain culture associated with the university.
Despite his fandom amongst the students of the university, it wasn’t until 1948 that Yosef — whose name dropped the second “f” in 1947 — was first referred to as the Mountaineers mascot.
However, it wasn’t until Feb. 22, 1983, that the Mountaineers mascot, logo, and even team nickname across all sporting teams for the program was made official, according to an extract from “The Appalachian.”
While his appearance has changed over the years, the essence of the Appalachian State mascot is essentially the same. Yosef is a bearded mountain man wearing overalls and a hat, while he has been known to sport a pipe and long rifle at various times during his tenure as the Mountaineers mascot.
His most recent appearance reboot came as Appalachian State transitioned from being an FCS team to a Sun Belt representative from the 2014 college football season. That rebrand caused some consternation as many felt the cartoon nature diluted the ferociousness of the Mountaineers mascot.
While Yosef has served as the Mountaineers mascot for a number of years, his duties aren’t restricted to prowling the sidelines of the program’s sports teams. He was a guest editorial writer for the student newspaper between 1946 and 1949, while the Appalachian State mascot can be hired for private functions, including weddings.
What Does Yosef Mean at Appalachian State?
Yosef the mountaineer has been the Appalachian State mascot since the 1940s, making him one of the longest-running consistent mascots in college football. But what does Yosef actually mean? It turns out it’s more than just a name.
According to the Appalachian State website, Yosef is mountain talk for “yourself,” with “the idea being that if you are an App State alumnus, fan or friend and have a heart filled with black and gold, you are Yosef.”
Why Is Appalachian State the Mountaineers?
The program’s sports teams and Mountaineers mascot came directly from the university location in Boone, North Carolina. Appalachian State is located within the Blue Ridge Mountains. While the location bore the university nickname, the traditions associated with the ways of the mountain folk are integral to the program.
“Due to its location in the western mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University has remained committed to its place in mountain culture,” explains Jonathan Martin in an article for the North Carolina History Project. “As one of the founders of the Appalachian Consortium, the university has long proclaimed the Southern Highland way of life and history.”