Celebrities and the Flying WV

July 7, 2011 by Brad McElhinny
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Give West Virginia University credit for an excellent achievement in the marketing world: the Flying WV logo.

Far as I can tell, based on the extensive research we do here at the Nerd Living blog, the Flying WV debuted in 1980 as part of a football uniform redesign requested by Coach Don Nehlen.

We go now, live!, to the Wikipedia entry that had that nugget of info:

The “Flying WV” is the most widely used logo in West Virginia athletics. It debuted in 1980 as a part of a football uniform redesign by Coach Don Nehlen, and was adopted as the official logo for the University in 1983. While the “Flying WV” represents all university entities, unique logos are occasionally used for individual departments. Some examples include the script West Virginia logo for the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, and the interlocking WV logo used in baseball.

According to another article I found here, WVU athletic department types figured the previous design — featuring the outline of West Virginia with “WVU” inside the borders — was too bland. They put a designer, John Martin, on the case and he sent back a few possibilities, including the Flying WV. It cost $200.

Well worth it, it seems.

Because of late, it’s gone Hollywood. And every time it happens, it makes West Virginia residents go a-twitter — or straight to Twitter, as the case may be.


I got to thinking about the Flying WV because just this week, actress and West Virginia native Jennifer Garner was pictured in People magazine’s website while attending a Fourth of July parade in a Flying WV hat.

Here’s the first comment from the post:


So, I guess that’s an indication of excitement, what with the all caps and three exclamation points after each sentence.

Oh! And her cute kids and hunky husband were also in the picture.

It’s not terribly surprising that Garner would be wearing the hat. She IS from Charleston, after all. But her actual, real life college alma mater is Dennison in Ohio. On the other, other hand, can anyone name what the Dennison mascot is? The Fighting J-Garns?

Leo in London

More surprising is the penchant Leonardo DiCaprio seems to have for wearing the Flying WV. I haven’t heard of any sightings lately, but for a while it seemed like he was wearing his hat anywhere and everywhere you looked.

He was wearing it in London. He was wearing it at World Cup soccer from South Africa. He wore it at the NBA Finals. He wore it while shopping with girlfriend and Israeli-born supermodel Bar Refaeli at Target.

You know what this says to me? It says Leo is JUST LIKE US!

Such appearances lit up the message boards.

It’s never been properly explained to me how Leo came by this hat. Did he get it from Jen and Ben? Did he pick it up at his local sporting goods store? Was it all a dream, like Inception?

And does he just have one that he picks up off the floor and puts on his head every day? Or does he have an entire closet full?

His geographic roots don’t exactly jibe. Leo was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended the University of Growing Pains.

Does anybody know why Leo sports the Flying WV? And has anyone sent him a nice written invitation to a game?

And can you think of any more celebrities who choose the Flying WV as their fashion statement?


Watching World Cup Soccer




Catching the NBA Finals

Shopping with Bar Refaeli at Target


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3 Responses to “Celebrities and the Flying WV”

  1. KatyNo Gravatar says:

    Rumor on the Web is that Leo’s mother is/was from WV or has connections here, and he is an environmentalist supporting the mountaintop removal awareness efforts of Robert Kennedy, Kathy Mattea, Sheryl Crow, and others.

    If you can believe ilovemountains.org…

  2. mistyNo Gravatar says:

    I heard the same rumor years ago, Supposedly leo bought his momma a house here in WV.

  3. JessicaNo Gravatar says:

    I remember reading in Teen Beat, Tiger Beat or some other teeny bop magazine in the nineties, when I was 12, that Leo said in an interview that some day he wanted to buy his mom a house in West Virginia. I remember this distinctly because I am from WV and because I had a preteen crush on Leo, I took it as a sign that we were destined to be together. I don’t remember reading anything about his mother being from WV, but maybe. Still, as a WVU alumnus, it always makes me smile when I see him wearing the flying WV.

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