Most people are familiar with Miami’s iconic rotation chain, a current tradition of Penn State defensive football coordinator Manny Diaz that began in 2017.
The idea was simple: after every turnover of the Hurricanes defense, a gold Cuban link chain with an oversized “U” logo was awarded to the player who came in with the ball.
Miami’s defense managed to rack up 31 turnovers in 13 games in the chain’s inaugural season, which was tied for third in the nation that year.
Since then, many teams have attempted to create their own sideline loot, with varying degrees of success. Among those teams was Penn State Football, which gave running backs a “LawnBoyz” string after scoring a touchdown during the 2019 season.
While the idea has been popularized in college football, recently some college baseball teams have gotten to work.
Since 2020, Tennessee has rewarded players who hit home runs with a hat that says “dad” on the front. At the start of the 2022 season, Tennessee unveiled an additional celebratory accessory: a large cheetah-print coat. In the prop duo’s first season in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Volunteers went deep 157 times, 20 more than any other NCAA team.
Across the country, more of these items began to appear. Virginia Tech introduced a home run hammer, and Oklahoma State chose to celebrate their home runs with a cowboy hat.
Penn State, on the other hand, has nothing.
If Coach Rob Cooper and the Diamond Lions decide to introduce their own circuit accessory, here are some suggestions on what it could be.
Penn State was founded in 1855 and was originally known as Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania.
A rake would be a great reminder of the college’s roots and symbolize an important part of the school’s history.
It also has a double meaning, as the term “rake” can also be used to describe a player who hits the ball well.
Penn State has one of the most iconic mascots in all of sports, so incorporating him into a home run celebration might be pretty cool.
While the logistics might be hard to figure out, if the team were able to get a real Puma into the dugout from third base at Medlar Field in Lubrano Park, it would be a hit with the fans.
Additionally, it would provide an intimidation factor to opposing teams.
Fake Nittany Lion
Not quite as entertaining, but perhaps a more realistic option is a Nittany Lion plush.
A stuffed lion would be a great accessory to pull out after a home run or keep in the dugout as a lucky charm.
It would also be much less dangerous for canoe enthusiasts than the previous option.
Pennsylvania is known as Keystone State, so having a keystone as a prop would help the team represent their home.
A majority of the roster is made up of Pennsylvania natives, so that would play into the team’s ability to keep in-state players at home.
The only problem with this idea is that it would essentially be glorified rock, and it would probably be very heavy.
It’s no secret that the wrestling team has been Penn State’s most successful athletic program in recent years, having won nine of the last 11 national championships.
While the Nittany Lion baseball team has had its moments, it certainly cannot claim the level of dominance displayed by its Happy Valley counterparts.
Perhaps some of that success will trickle down to the team and bring home Penn State’s first ever University World Series Championship.
Willard Preacher sweatshirt
The Willard Preacher has become a local celebrity for Penn Staters and is perhaps the most dripping man on campus.
His signature red sweatshirt is a perfect symbol of passion and dedication – two highly valued traits in the sport of baseball.
Having a Willard Preacher-inspired sweatshirt waiting for anyone to hit a home run could inspire the Nittany Lions to break records next season.
Nothing says baseball better than a dead mule from the 1800s.
Anyone who’s ever taken a wrong turn at the HUB-Robeson Center has probably found Old Coaly’s preserved skeleton – in all its glory.
Old Coaly has literally made Penn State what it is today, helping with landscaping and other jobs around campus for the past 30 years. This unbridled determination and old-fashioned work ethic embodies the spirit of the team led by Cooper.
The only downside is that it would probably scare most young children, as well as myself.
With many options to choose from, next spring the team will have some tough decisions to make.
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The 2021-22 campaign marked the second straight year that Penn State failed to finish above .500.