OXFORD, MS (WLOX) - Which will it be? The Ole Miss Land Sharks, the Ole Miss Black Bears, or the Ole Miss Hotty Toddys? Students and alumni will choose one of those mascots to raise spirits on the field, in the Grove and throughout the community.
The university is keeping the Rebels name, but hasn't had an on-field mascot in more than seven years.
The Rebel Land Shark is based on a tradition begun by the late Rebel football player Tony Fein, whose "Fins Up" hand motion has caught on with Rebel fans.
The Rebel Black Bear is based on Mississippi's native black bear, which is a symbol of pride,strength, and toughness. Don't forget the legend of the "Teddy Bear" originated in Mississippi when President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a defenseless bear on a Mississippi hunt in 1902.
The Hotty Toddy character embodies the ultimate Ole Miss Rebel fan. Hotty Toddy would be an athletic, entertaining character whose stunts would rally and energize fans, while intimidating mascots of opposing teams.
Hotty Toddy was inspired, in part, by the past performances of former Ole Miss cheerleaders led by stuntman Ty Cobb. Cobb and other Ole Miss cheerleaders evolved into the Bud light Daredevils acrobatic team.
Two mascots didn't make the cut: The Rebel Lion, which was a play on the words "Rebellion," and the Rebel Stallion.
Many fans were enthusiastic about a live horse as a mascot to lead the Ole Miss Rebels. But because of limited space on the stadium sidelines and in other athletic venues, the committee soon realized that a live horse would, at most, have a brief and limited role at the beginning of each football game. The idea of a costumed horse wasn't nearly as appealing to fans.