History of the Auburn Tigers Mascot

The Auburn Tigers' mascot situation has led to confusion among college football fans outside of "the Plains," but inside the program, there's just one.

For fans outside of “the Plains,” the situation of the Auburn Tigers mascot is one of the most complicated of all traditions in college football. For those in the know, there is no situation or complication. Let’s settle this thing once and for all.

What Is the Auburn Tigers Mascot?

Aubie The Tiger is the original and only Tigers mascot. Appearing originally as a cartoon on the front cover of the Auburn vs. Hardin-Simmons program of 1959, Aubie was the creation of local newspaper artist Phil Neel.

Over time, Aubie would begin to take on anthropomorphic qualities. By 1963, the face of the Auburn athletics programs was wearing a blue tie and straw hat in the illustrations that adorned the Tigers’ game programs.

Aubie was considered good luck for the university’s football teams. While appearing as the cover illustration over an 18-year period, the Tigers compiled a 63-16-2 record at home.

As costumed mascots gained traction as an integral part of college football pageantry, it was decided that Aubie needed to leap off the page and onto the sideline. In 1979, a costume designed by Brooks-Van Horn Costumes using inspiration from the 1961 and 1962 illustrations, gave Auburn their Tigers mascot.

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According to Auburn, Aubie is more than simply the Tigers’ mascot. They described the distinctive, jersey-sporting tiger as a “spirit leader and goodwill ambassador for Auburn University,” while adding that he “is the living spirit of Auburn.”

“His striking good looks, personal appeal, and daring antics combine to make the character fans cannot ignore. It is often said women love him, children adore him, and men want to be him.”

The Auburn mascot certainly has a character outside of the norm. Not content with prowling the sidelines of Jordan-Hare Stadium and the other athletics facilities of the university, Aubie has made a national name for himself.

At the time of writing, the Tigers mascot has won a record 10 mascot national championships and was one of the first inductees into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006. Additionally, Aubie has a thriving and entertaining social media presence.

Does Auburn Have 2 Mascots?

Now we come to the popular misconception about the Tigers mascot. It’s a cause of great consternation amongst anyone closely associated with Auburn University. Does Auburn have two mascots? They’ll tell you passionately and with a little angst, no!

So, why the confusion?

Well, the Auburn athletics programs, including the college football team, are known as the Tigers. However, the accompanying battle cry of “War Eagle” has caused some people to believe that the program has two mascots.

“‘War Eagle’ is Auburn’s battle cry,” explains the Auburn Traditions page passionately on the university website. “Auburn has never referred to any of its teams as ‘Eagles’ or ‘War Eagles.’ To the Auburn Family, it’s very simple. We are the Tigers who yell ‘War Eagle’!”

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While the Tigers’ mascot is the only official mascot of Auburn University, the program has a rich history associated with the eagle. Many people see eagles as symbolizing strength, power, and courage — characteristics closely associated with the university itself.

Amongst many legends over how the “War Eagle” cry was born, one of the most popular comes from an 1892 win over Georgia.

Allegedly, a Civil War veteran in the crowd had taken his eagle into the stadium. As the bird broke loose and circled the stadium, the Tigers prowled downfield and secured a famous victory. Sadly, as the tail goes, the bird nosedived into the ground and perished, but the “War Eagle” cry lives on today.

To this day, an eagle soars over the stadium prior to home games. This should not be construed as the eagle being the Auburn mascot, however.

Why Is Auburn the Tigers?

Not only is there only one Tigers mascot, but the identity of the program has been set in stone since before the 1900s. The college football program has been known as the Tigers since they first fielded a team in 1892, when Auburn traveled to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Bulldogs.

The nickname and identity of the program came from the line of a poem published in 1770 entitled “The Deserted Village.” In Oliver Goldsmith’s tome, he wrote the line “where crouching tigers await their hapless prey…” which encapsulates the atmosphere awaiting opponents when they enter Jordan-Hare Stadium.