Athletics looking for new Billy the Panther

Madalyn Schoonover, Contributing Writer

The Eastern Athletic Department is looking to hire a new person to be Billy the Panther for the upcoming sports season.

They are hoping to fill the position by the start of next week. There are currently two students who take on the role, but with a busy sports season starting soon, along with the other events Billy participates in, they want to spread out the games evenly between three Billys to lighten the load.

“We’re looking for someone that isn’t afraid to stand out,” said Trevor Bittenbender, the graduate assistant of marketing and contact for Panther Athletics. “The person needs to love to give as much as possible.”

Bittenbender spent some time as Billy the Panther himself, and he said that while he thinks of himself as an introvert, Billy helped him to open up to his more goofy sides, as well as giving him a behind-the-scenes look into the world of Eastern Athletics. He said that being Billy helped him to get his foot in the door of the athletic department and gave him a better understanding of the way the events are organized.

“A mascot has to be willing to give it their all, but it comes naturally when you’re being Billy,” Bittenbender said.

So, what exactly does it take to be Billy the Panther?

According to Bittenbender, the main qualities necessary to be the best mascot include being outgoing, caring, humorous and having a genuine love for Eastern. “You’ll be giving high fives, taking pictures with kids and playing pranks on fans,” Bittenbender said.

Bittenbender said the perfect candidate must be willing to “give it their all.”

Ryan Alderman has also spent some time as Billy the Panther this year.

“You need to be someone who is laid back and knows how to have a little fun,” he said.

“Everybody loves a Billy who is interacting with the fans, playing games with them, pulling pranks, dancing around, giving hugs and high fives,” Alderman said.

The perfect Billy candidate also needs to have availability for sports games. Women’s basketball kicks off on Nov. 3, with games taking place all the way into February.

“The best part about being Billy is doing some ridiculous thing and everybody laughing and having a good time because of it,” Alderman said. “You won’t find another job where you get paid to dance and have fun, so take advantage of it if you get the chance.”

One of the current Billys will be graduating this year, so the student chosen to be the new Billy can stay on into the next school year.

Mascots receive $8.25 an hour. Billys are also known to show up at other campus events, such as: admissions days, orientations, social media ads, recruitment activities and other Eastern-sponsored events.

“(Being Billy) doesn’t feel like a job,” Bittenbender said.

Those interested in applying to be Billy the Panther can contact Trevor Bittenbender at [email protected] for more information.