MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The passing of TOM III last week at the age of 12 signaled the end of having a live mascot at Memphis Tigers football games, but the University of Memphis has found a way to keep the tradition alive.
“The UofM is proud to engage with our nationally recognized Memphis Zoo,” said President M. David Rudd. “How fitting it is that all future TOMs will live there.”
Rudd made the announcement on Twitter Monday, saying the UofM will sponsor TOM IV at the Memphis Zoo in addition to the creation of a TOM IV webpage and live webcam from the habitat.
TOM IV will eventually be featured at Tigers games by broadcast on the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium videoboard.
“The Memphis Zoo is thrilled to have the opportunity to house TOM IV,” said Jim Dean, president and CEO of the Memphis Zoo and UofM alumnus. “There is no one better to oversee the care of the beloved University of Memphis mascot.”
The university is also pursuing negotiations to memorialize TOM at the stadium with a statue near the Memphis football locker room.