There are 13 colleges in the nation that claim a tiger as their mascot. It’s safe to say that none of them hold a candle to the one and only Aubie, Auburn’s favorite tiger and beloved mascot. Women love him, children adore him, and men want to be him – it’s as simple as that. No matter how your time at Auburn is spent or what your experience is on the Plains, it is a fact that you will remember Aubie as more than just a mascot – he is a huge part of the Auburn spirit.
Rebekah Thebo, a senior majoring in Human Resource Management, has been an Auburn fan all her life. “I don’t remember the first time I met Aubie, but I’m certain it was magical because he is such a fun and lovable tiger” she said. Aubie has been known as this wonderful personality for many years, and has accomplished much during his time serving Auburn.
Aubie is currently in his 34th season as Auburn’s mascot, and he has won seven mascot national championships in that time (more than any other mascot in the nation). He was even one of the first three mascots to be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006. Though Aubie is nationally recognized for his adorable face, silly pranks and unmatched dance moves, he came from humble beginnings dating back 54 years.
The tiger, created by Birmingham Post-Herald artist Phil Neel, made his first appearance as a cartoon character on a football program cover in 1959. In 1962 the character stood upright, and he started to wear clothes the next year – his first outfit was a stylish blue tie and straw hat. In the first six years after Aubie’s creation, Auburn football was 23-2-1 at home, and that was no coincidence – the new mascot was a lucky charm.
In 1979 the Auburn Student Government Association, Alumni Association and other groups on campus contributed funds to raise the $1,350 for Brooks-Van Horn Costumes in New York City to make Aubie come to life. His first appearance as Auburn’s “living” mascot came in February of 1980, when Auburn basketball upset Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. The Tigers went on to the semifinal round of the tournament, and Aubie was with them the entire time.
Aubie won his first mascot national championship in 1991, and his most recent win came in 2012. He uses props to act out clever skits, leads the band during home football games and plays pranks on students, fans and security guards no matter the occasion.
According to Thebo, one reason why fans love Aubie is because “he is always having fun and being a goofball.” He cheered the Tigers on to victory during the 2010 National Championship season, and he lead the final roll of the Toomer’s Oaks after the 2013 Spring Football Game. His Facebook page has 65,214 likes, and he has over 18,000 Twitter followers. It’s safe to say that the Auburn Family loves Aubie, and, as evident by his frequent love-struck fainting spells and proposals to female students and fans, he loves the Auburn Family just as much.
“Aubie is the biggest fan of Auburn, and because he loves Auburn this much the Auburn family can’t help but love and adore him,” said Thebo. “Aubie is unique. There is no other mascot like him, he is an Auburn tradition and one that every Auburn family member holds in their hearts.”