When the University of Memphis first fielded a football team in the fall of 1912, no one had selected a nickname for the squad.
Early references to the football team tabbed them only as the Blue and Gray Warriors of West Tennessee Normal School.
After the final game of the 1914 season, there was a student parade. During this event, several Normal students shouted, "We fight like Tigers." The nickname was born.
More and more the nickname "Tigers" was used, particularly in campus publications. But it did not catch on with the newspapers downtown. They continued to use "Normals" or the "Blue and Gray" when referring to the University.
Under Coach Lester Barnard in 1922, Normal's football team gave a ring of truth to that old student yell about Tigers. The team adopted a motto - "Every Man a Tiger" - and went on to score 174 points while allowing its opponents just 29 points.
In the late 1920s, student publications and downtown newspapers began referring to the football team as the "Teachers" or "Tutors." The Tiger nickname would return, but not until 1939 was it finally adopted as the official nickname for the University of Memphis.
Tom III - Official U of M Mascot
The first Tiger, TOM, was procured by the Highland Hundred Football Boosters in 1972 and served the U of M faithfully for nearly 20 years until passing away in February of 1992. The Highland Hundred officially presented TOM to the University in a ceremony at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Nov. 11, 1972, during a football game against the University of Cincinnati.
TOM initially was named “Shane” at the suggestion of the breeder’s daughter. Once in Memphis, though, a contest was held to name the mascot. More than 2,500 entries were submitted. The list was ultimately reduced to two choices — Shane and TOM, which stands for Tigers Of Memphis. TOM won.
In the fall of 1991, the Highland Hundred Tiger Guard received TOM II as a gift from Tom and Carolyn Atchison of Florence, Ala. TOM II served with pride for 17 years from 1991-2008, passing away on Oct. 15 of that year.
Shortly after TOM II’s death, the Tiger Guard began the search for a new tiger to serve as TOM III, and a stroke of good luck was realized in a discussion with the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue & Educational Center in Rock Springs, Wis. Faced with three new cubs born Aug. 31, 2008, after an unexpected pregnancy at their facility, founders Jeff Kozlowski and Jenny Meyer offered to donate one of their young tigers to serve as TOM III. TOM III was introduced at a press conference on Nov. 17, 2008, and the Tiger Guard officially presented him to the University on Nov. 22 during a football game against the UCF.
The University of Memphis' official school colors of Blue and Gray were selected in the early 1900s. The colors were chosen in an effort to show unity in a nation that was still recovering from the effects of the Civil War. The student body thought that by picking the colors of the North and the South, the school would show a togetherness among all students.
The official Athletic Department logo, which was originally created by U of M graduate Craig Thompson, is the Tiger leaping over the M. The PMS colors for the logo are: Blue - 280, Gold - 138. When gray is used, the PMS color is 423.
U of M FIGHT SONG
Go Tigers Go, Go On To Victory,
Be A Winner Thru And Thru;
Fight Tigers, Fight Cause We're
Going All The Way --
For The Blue And Gray And Say --
Let's Go Tigers Go,
Go On To Victory.
See Our Colors Bright And True;
It's Fight Now Without A Fear,
Fight Now Let's Shout A Cheer,
Shout For Dear Memphis U.
Go Tigers Go
Go Tigers Go
Yea -- Tiger Go!
U of M ALMA MATER
Stand Firm, O Alma Mater
Through All The Years To Come;
In Days Of Youth And Beauty
Thy Halls Have Been Our Home.
In Time Of Preparation
Great Lessons Didst Thou Teach
Till Now O Alma Mater,
The Stars We'll Strive To Reach.
Lead On, O Alma Mater
They Sons To Highways,
Give Light And Truth Unto Them
For All Their Coming Days.
To Thee We'll Give All Honor,
Our Hopes Abide In Thee,
For Thou, O Alma Mater,
Hast Made Us Ever Free.
Mighty Sound of the South
The mission of the Mighty Sound of the South Marching Band is perform entertaining halftime and pre-game shows, and to provide energy and spirit at all events at which we perform. The MSS performs more than any other student ensemble on campus, and for approximately 350,000 fans each fall. The MSS is a frequent guest at community and corporate events, and performs for football, men's and women's basketball, select women's volleyball, and select men's soccer games. The MSS is featured at nearly every campus-wide event, ranging from Freshman Convocation to the Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally. The band has been featured at the 2008 NCAA Final Four – winning the "Battle of the Bands", on the nationally syndicated "Mike & Mandy" Radio Show, and is a star attraction at the Bandmaster's Championship, a high school marching band contest administered by The University of Memphis Band Alumni Chapter.
Some of the most recognizable groups on game day are the Tiger Spirit Squads who are charged with creating excitement for the fans. The pride that these groups show each game shines through from the start of the contest to the final seconds of the game clock.
The University of Memphis fields competitive cheer squads in the Coed and All-Girl divisions as well as a competitive dance team. The Coed squad has continued to be one of the top D1A schools at the UCA National Collegiate Championships. Our All-Girl squad has been in top three since it was formed in 2002, while capturing titles in 2004 and 2008. One of the most talented dance teams in the nation, the Memphis Pom squad has amassed 14 national titles over the years.(national titles 1986-94,2000, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012 and runner-up 2005, 2010). The co-ed team won their first national championship in 2013.
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