The Mountaineer Maniacs is the largest student organization on West Virginia’s campus. As the official student section for WVU sports, the Mountaineer Maniacs embodies its motto, “Be the Difference.”
The Mountaineer Maniacs show undeniable pride and passion for West Virginia and its athletic teams. The university’s student section shows its commitment to the Old Gold and Blue while promoting good sportsmanship and Mountaineer traditions.
Director of the Mountaineer Maniacs Brandon Neiswonger has been a part of the student organization since his freshman year. In fact, Neiswonger applied to be on the Executive Board when he was 17 years old, leaving his sixth period class in high school to attend his interview.
“WVU athletics has always played a commanding role in my life,” said Neiswonger. “With such an intense passion, one has a desire to share that with others. I always looked up to the Maniacs as an organization that did that.”
The Mountaineer Maniacs prides itself on its motto that is seen on the organization’s merchandise and across social media accounts: “Be The Difference.”
“The goal can be simplified to our motto: ‘Be the Difference,” Neiswonger said. “That is, to ‘Be the Difference’ not only in the stands, but also in the community as a whole.”
While the organization is primarily known for tailgates, chants and watch parties, the Mountaineer Maniacs also prides itself on giving back to the community through service, fundraising and outreach.
By becoming a member of the Maniacs, one can look forward to making a difference in the community and at sporting events; a major perk, though, is all of the benefits members receive.
When becoming a member, students can choose either a Basic Membership or an Ultimate Membership. Basic and Ultimate Memberships receive the same benefits; however, Ultimate Members are guaranteed tickets to all six home football games, where Basic Members may not always secure tickets.
Basic Memberships are $25 and Ultimate Memberships are $50; both memberships are good for the entirety of one school year.
As a member, students receive a Maniacs membership shirt and have access to giveaways of other Maniacs merchandise. Members automatically receive a 20% discount at the Book Exchange and receive invites to watch parties and to basketball and football games on the road.
Student Shelby Thomas, member of the Maniacs Executive Board, acknowledged that the perks of being a member were a significant reason she joined the organization her freshman year.
“I joined the Maniacs freshman year so that I could get to know some of the most committed and outgoing fans of our athletic programs,” said Thomas. “Plus, there are endless perks year round if you enjoy going to sporting events. I heard about guaranteed football tickets, giveaways and perks you could get by going to events, and it all sounded great.”
While members of the Mountaineer Maniacs receive many valuable, tangible benefits, the feeling of cheering on the Mountaineers with thousands of other students is something that many fans consider the best part about being a Maniac.
A goal of the Maniacs is to cheer on WVU’s teams and motivate athletes to perform to the best of their abilities, knowing they have a loyal fanbase behind them. When it comes to “being the difference,” Mountaineer Maniacs know that showing pride for West Virginia can make a true difference on the outcome of the game.
Ultimate Member Jackson Mace joined the Mountaineer Maniacs his freshman year in hopes of “contributing to the great atmosphere of WVU sporting events.”
“The best feeling is when you feel you have a real impact on the outcome of the game,” Mace said.
Maniacs also know the joy in the tradition of singing “Country Roads” after a Mountaineer win.
“Singing country roads with your friends after a win is just a surreal experience,” said Mace.
Neiswonger encourages students to join the Mountaineer Maniacs and “Be The Difference.”
“The camaraderie of fellow fans in the official student section of WVU athletics cannot be understated,” Neiswonger said. “This is a place where all these different people, no matter what they study or where they came from, can be united under one identity: The Old Gold and Blue.”
Students can join the Mountaineer Maniacs at https://maniacs.wvu.edu/join where Ultimate and Basic Memberships are available.