Football season on the Plains is right around the corner, and that means Saturdays spent tailgating on Samford Lawn, cheering from the stands in Jordan-Hare and huddled around the television waiting for the next big play to take shape. In addition to grilling and game time, there’s another part of game day protocol that has fans in an excited uproar every fall (and year round for that matter), and his name is Aubie the Tiger.
A respected representation of the Auburn community and spirit, Aubie the Tiger has been helping fans celebrate what it means to be an Auburn Tiger for decades. From the sidelines at football games to the special guest of community events, this award-winning mascot has a long and storied history as rich as Auburn University’s itself. As we gear up to see Aubie around town this football season, here are 10 things you may not know about Aubie the Tiger that will help you get an understanding of his integral role in the Auburn community.
- Aubie began as a cartoon character. Phil Neel, artist with the Birmingham Post-Herald, created the cartoon tiger that first appeared on the Auburn/Hardin-Simmons football program cover on Oct. 3, 1950.
- Aubie’s presence sparked victory. The Auburn Tigers football team won the first nine games during which Aubie appeared on the Auburn game day programs. In his first six years of existence, Auburn boasted a 23-2-1 home record. Auburn’s home record in the first 18 years of Aubie on the cover was 63-16-2.
- Aubie has Disney ties. Brooks Van-Horn Costumes out of New York City designed and produced the first Aubie costume in 1979, and it cost $1,350. The firm was also known for having made costumes for Walt Disney.
- Aubie’s first in-person stint was on the basketball court. Aubie as a live tiger mascot first appeared at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Civic Center of Feb. 28, 1979, when the Tigers defeated Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. With Aubie’s help, the Tigers ended up making it to the semi-finals of the tournament.
- Aubie has won several national titles. They include Capital One Mascot of the Year (2014), UCA Mascot National Champion (1991, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and inductee into the Mascot Hall of Fame (2006).
- Aubie has a strong social following. The official Aubie Facebook account had more than 74,000 followers as of August 2017, the official Aubie Twitter account had more than 56,500 followers and the official Aubie Instagram account had more than 34,000.
- Being Aubie’s “friend” takes work. The tryout process to become a “Friend of Aubie” is divided into three parts. For the first part, contestants must perform a short skit that they create themselves. In the second round, they must perform an unrehearsed skit based on a prompt from the judges. After passing these two rounds, contestants must participate in an on-stage interview—the first time that judges see contestants’ faces.
- Aubie has many “friends.” Since 1979, there have been more than 80 “Friends of Aubie,” including a different “Head Friend of Aubie” each year.
- Aubie is multi-talented. During events, Aubie has be seen performing a variety of activities, including riding his tricycle, waving the giant AU flags, rocking out on his guitar, riding a horse, dancing, conducting the band, rolling Toomer’s corner and generally putting a smile on the faces of everyone he comes into contact with.
- Aubie relies on help from the Aubie Committee. The committee meets before home football games and other events to design and create props for Aubie to use during his appearances. Committees also get the opportunity to meet with current “Friends of Aubie.”
Over the years, Aubie the Tiger has made a name for himself that is synonymous with Auburn spirit. While you’re enjoying football season in Auburn this fall, take these 10 things you may not know about Aubie the Tiger with you to share with a fellow Auburn fan!
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