Trio of proposed Ole Miss mascots get closer look

OXFORD – The University of Mississippi has revealed artist’s concepts for the three final choices for its next on-field mascot, and another round of voting begins today.
Narrowed from a field of more than 1,000 original suggestions, the Rebel Land Shark, the Rebel Black Bear and Hotty Toddy made their collective debut on mascot.olemiss.edu on Tuesday.
The school is looking to replace Colonel Reb, who was removed from the sidelines in 2003 after administrators said the caricature of an old Southern gentleman did not represent Ole Miss’ evolving family.
The committee hoped for a mascot that would unify the Ole Miss community and fit its culture, be unique and timeless, adapt from Grove to game, have the ability to be active and appeal to children, along with having a Mississippi connection.
Online voting to choose among the three finalists will be from 8 a.m. today to 5 p.m. Oct. 12. Those eligible include Ole Miss students, faculty and staff, along with dues-paying alumni and football season ticket holders.
The three mascot finalists are shown in “Grove attire” and more athletic-oriented sidelines garb.
The late Rebel football player Tony Fein began a “fins up” hand motion that has become popular among football crowds, giving rise to the Rebel Land Shark.
Rebel Black Bear owes its origins in part to William Faulkner’s “The Bear,” a short story acknowledged widely as one of the writer’s finest works, and to Theodore Roosevelt’s refusal to kill a confined ursine on a Delta hunt, which sparked the creation of the Teddy Bear.
Hotty Toddy evolved from a pair of characters to one. Originally seen as a couple of “Muppet-like” figures, it has developed into a muscular, square-jawed human figure. It was inspired by a group of former Ole Miss cheerleaders, led by stuntman Ty Cobb, who went on to become the Bud Light Daredevils.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal