Voting begins for new Ole Miss mascot

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

OXFORD, MS (WMC-TV) - The polls are open to pick a new Ole Miss Rebels mascot.  Monday, the mascot selection committee's website featured a video from students explaining the process.

University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff, alumni association members and season ticket holders are invited to rank their favorite mascot idea," selection committee member Paris Buchanan explains in the video.

The school sidelined the mascot in 2003 when they began moving away from Old South images.

"Colonel Reb" was a caricature of a plantation owner.

In 2009, the school banned words from a school chant that said, "The South will rise again."  The words came from the song "From Dixie with Love", during the desegregation of Ole Miss

This February, students began the search for a new on-field mascot.

"We already have over a thousand submissions," Selection Committee Co-chairman, Ty New, said in the website video.

The committee chose 11 concepts from the thousand.

"We'll use all of the input gathered to develop the best ideas for artists renderings," selection committee member Matt Daniels outlined on the web video.

"We are and will continue to be the Ole Miss Rebels.  Help us select a new mascot to carry on the tradition and pride of the Ole Miss Rebels," Ty New concluded in the video.

These are descriptions of 11 concepts outlined by the students on their website:


Nothing says Ole Miss like these two words… "Hotty Toddy."  They embrace the culture at Ole Miss like nothing else.  Southern charm, hospitality, pride, tradition… "Hotty Toddy" means all of that and more.  Among the Ole Miss family, these words have become a familiar greeting, a way of connecting with others through a shared love of Ole Miss.  University historians have searched for the origins of these words and the familiar cheer for years to no avail, but they are as much a part of Ole Miss as the Grove or the Lyceum. This mascot concept would bring those words, and the emotions connected to those words, alive in a pair of lovable characters.  The pair may be animals or original "muppet-like" characters, but completely unique to Ole Miss. They can get as spirited and excited as any Rebel fan, and they love to pump up the crowd.  And once we win the game, they will gladly be gracious hosts, inviting the other team to come back for more!


In Mississippi, many stories that have been shared for generations center around our native black bear.  The legend of the "Teddy Bear" originated in our state when President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a defenseless bear on a Mississippi hunt.  Additionally, William Faulkner's "Old Ben," a formidable black bear, was the focal point of his renowned short story The Bear.  In the story, the bear is a symbol of pride, strength and toughness. Our black bear would stare down the Ole Miss opponents as it prowls the Rebel sidelines. With a growl that would intimidate any opponent, our bear would be a real source of spirit.  Off the field, "Rebel" would be a real Ole Miss ambassador… full of pride and welcoming any opportunity to spread the joy of being a Rebel.


The Blues, a musical tradition birthed right here in Mississippi, is loved the world over.  And Ole Miss is the keeper of that tradition.  The University maintains the world's largest blues collection in the Blues Archive; the University also publishes Living Blues, the standard bearer for the uniquely Mississippi musical genre.  The most influential blues musicians have all come from Mississippi, and this cultural legacy has led to our state's brand identity — "Mississippi – the birthplace of America's music."  Blues legend W.C. Handy composed "Ole Miss Blues" almost a century ago, and Indianola's B.B. King recorded his live album, "Now Appearing at Ole Miss" thirty years ago.  The Rebel Blues Musician, a larger-than-life costumed personality, embodies that tradition and its spirit of triumph, respect and entertainment. The Rebel Blues Musician can excite and unify an athletics crowd just as the actual musician excites an audience.  There would be endless opportunities for interacting with the crowd, and the Rebel Blues Musician would provide broad appeal at a variety of Ole Miss events.


The Cardinal Club is a venerable campus organization dating back to the 1930's.  This student spirit group is tasked with rallying the Ole Miss Family at athletic events and bringing excitement to the games.  Historically, the Cardinal Club members have also served as game day hosts,  welcoming the visiting team.  The cardinal concept would marry the Ole Miss school color, cardinal red, with the strong Rebel spirit and tradition of our students and fans.  The Ole Miss Cardinal would fit in perfectly in the grove on game days, and would reflect the pride and tradition of the Ole Miss Rebels.


From setting-up Grove tents twenty-four hours before kick-off to our students in right field hours before a baseball game, Ole Miss fans go to extremes to support the Rebels.  With that in mind, envision a creative and original character (think Jim Henson, muppet-like creation) that embodies the fanaticism of the Ole Miss faithful.  "Fanatic" characters are a whole new mascot genre and are among the most effective and popular mascots among professional and college teams.  As Hotty Toddy echoes throughout the Grove and the stadium, the Rebel Fanatic would lead the charge.  This one-of-a-kind character would generate fan support through skits, stunts and an endless supply of creative accessories. Fun and spirited, this mascot would endear children and adults alike through a larger-than-life personality reflecting the unique and passionate qualities of Ole Miss.


Rebels, more than anything, are free spirits.  Rebels lead the charge with strength and confidence.  Nothing portrays this sense of Rebel freedom, strength and confidence like a charging stallion.  When the University of Mississippi was formed in 1848, the charter was delivered by horse.  The first students arrived on campus by horse.  Mischievous Ole Miss students frustrated early faculty by riding horses through the Lyceum.  A costumed horse character would capture this history and the essence of the Ole Miss spirit.  This concept could potentially be enhanced with a live horse leading the team onto the field at Vaught-Hemingway with our colors flying on a huge "Ole Miss" flag proudly held by its rider or leader.  A new place of honor could potentially be established for those students selected to be a Rebel caretaker or rider.  Rebel would portray an image full of Southern charm and dignity at any Ole Miss event.


The Rebel Land Shark concept is based on a tradition begun by the late Rebel football player Tony Fein, whose "Fins Up" hand motion has already caught fire with Rebel fans. The Rebel Land Shark would be a living embodiment of this tradition, complete with a shark head and fin. The Land Shark is a result of an organic movement on campus and would be unique to the Ole Miss Rebels.  The Rebel family has already embraced the Land Shark, making it a big part of the football game-day experience, and the Land Shark has begun to spread to other sports, too. The Rebel Land Shark loves to wear the Rebel "red & blue" and when any Ole Miss team has a big play, the Land Shark enjoys dancing to the "Jaws" theme song. He is a very friendly character – except when someone challenges any Rebel athletics team.


The Pride of the South, already the moniker for the Ole Miss Band, best sums up the intense emotion Ole Miss fans have for all things Ole Miss. Within the animal kingdom, pride is most strongly associated with the Lion, the "King of Beasts" and a fierce and heroic animal. The Rebel Lion concept is rooted in the pride we all feel for Ole Miss. Strong, courageous and regal, the Rebel Lion would also appeal to children as a playful and entertaining personality.  Put the two words "Rebel" and "Lion" together, and our lion could be named "Rebellion", the leader of the Ole Miss Pride.  An ancient African proverb reflects the dominance of this leader among animals:  "The Lion does not turn around when a small dog barks."


A mascot is a team's good luck charm, a talisman of sorts.  But there is another word with a similar meaning and with its roots deep in the cultural soil of Mississippi – MOJO. This concept celebrates Mississippi culture and our love for all things Mississippi.  When someone has his "mojo working," everything is going right for him.  When someone "gets his mojo back," it means he has returned to top form, that he is working his magic on the stage, court or playing field.  Mojo would tap into that part of Mississippi's mystic cultural heritage that is beloved around the world – our music.  Mojo would work his magic on the field, providing an organizing theme and strengthening our game-day experience, allowing us to develop traditions, cheers, music, dances, and skits around a Mississippi theme, with Mojo as the centerpiece.  The Rebels don't just need a mascot, like any other team.  We are here in Mississippi.  The Rebels need their Mojo.


Nothing represents the lifeblood of our state like the Mississippi River.  The "Father of Waters" is a symbol that has long been a source of Mississippi cultural inspiration in our literature, music and art.  Once called the Mississippi Flood, Ole Miss teams have now harnessed the power of the rolling river.  This mascot concept brings all of the Southern charm and strength of the "Mighty Mississippi" to our campus. At the helm of the "Ole Miss" riverboat (a miniature landroving sternwheeler), the Riverboat Pilot would navigate Vaught Hemingway and incite the crowds to feverish levels.   He is always ready to hoist the Ole Miss colors and lead the charge into the stormy waters of athletic competition. Without any doubt, Rebel foes would know they are in for a fight when they hear the sound of the "Ole Miss" steam whistles blowing.


The Titans were the original Rebels. Prometheus, one of the Titans in Greek mythology, was a true Rebel who opposed Zeus, standing up for those who were not strong enough to stand up for themselves. This willingness to do the right thing, regardless of the cost, is the essence of being a Rebel.  Ole Miss graduates are Titans of industry, business, politics, sports, music, art and literature.  All Ole Miss fans have enjoyed game day surrounded by the classic Greek architecture of the campus, and the Lyceum's ionic columns are internationally recognized symbols of the strength and power of the University of Mississippi.  Similarly, the Rebel Titan is strong enough to bear the weight of the world, and, like Prometheus looking to the future of mankind, the Rebel Titan looks with confidence to the grand and glorious future awaiting the Ole Miss Rebels.

Here's a link to the selection committee's website:

Here are the links, if you qualify to vote:

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