Ole Miss mascot still confuses some staff, students

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

By Colleen Sewell and Jayson Kern

UM Journalism Students


Few things get an Ole Miss fan arguing faster than a discussion of the team’s mascot. Over the past 20-plus years, the University of Mississippi has had three official mascots.

Almost all of them have garnered both positive and negative reactions – including Colonel Reb, which was the official sideline mascot from 1979 until 2003. In 2010 the university replaced him with a new on-field mascot, the Black Bear, who was then replaced with Tony the Landshark in 2018. 

“Doesn’t it change every day, every month, or every year or season? I don’t know. Land sharks? Black bear? Are you the mascot? I don’t know,” University of Mississippi staff member James Dowd said jokingly.

Dowd has seen them all.

“Long ago I was here for Colonel Reb and I remember when the big push came to choose a new mascot, there were all of the different options and the black bear — how that won that I don’t know,” Dowd said with a grin.

Student Gariuana Williams said she doesn’t like any of the mascots Ole Miss has selected over the years as she feels none truly represent the university. If she had to choose, she would pick a Grove squirrel.

“Definitely a squirrel. I think that fits because they are all around campus and you could use that for publicity, to get pictures of real squirrels,” Williams said.

Students like Annas Williams have a different wish.

“I think we should just have one singular mascot, not the ‘confusingness,’” she said. “You see like five different mascots in the Grove. Are we sharks or are we Colonel Reb?”

As of now, the official mascot is Tony the Landshark, but who knows what’s coming next? 

Can you say Juice?