Getting to Know Clemson University
The Clemson story began in 1889 after the passing of Thomas Green Clemson, a native Philadelphian who bequeathed his home and fortune to the state of South Carolina with the intent of a university being built that would sustain his name. The gift was accepted later that year by Gov. John Peter Richardson – establishing Clemson Agricultural College in the Upstate. Clemson became a coeducational institution in 1955. It officially converted to Clemson University in 1964 with higher academic offerings and research pursuits.
Clemson has come a long way since then, and the school now has 17 athletic teams with a fabled history of success. The Tigers football team is currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and has appeared in 39 bowl games – emerging as victors 20 of those times. In addition to winning the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Clemson, along with Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, took down the University of Alabama (35-31) to win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
There to hype up the Clemson fanatics at home games, pep rallies, and community events are the university’s mascot, The Tiger. Alongside his companion – Tiger Cub – the dynamic costumed duo spends their time cheering on the Tigers all the way to national prominence. Let’s take a look at how The Tiger and Tiger Cub have ushered in a new era of fandom over the years.
Hailing from Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic University) is former Clemson President Walter Merritt Riggs. Riggs was noted for bringing football to the university – as well as the official school colors, orange and purple, along with it. The adoption of the Tiger mascot stemmed from Riggs’ attachment to his alma mater; he even used his former school’s old uniform equipment to jumpstart Clemson’s program.
The Tiger officially began roaming the sidelines in 1954, but it wasn’t until 1978 that a true tradition was born – the touchdown pushups. Former Tiger mascot Zack Mills pioneered the tradition by matching the number of pushups performed to Clemson’s total score after each touchdown achieved. Considering the suit weighs nearly 45 pounds, the pushups are viewed as no small feat.
In 1993, The Tiger gained a sideline companion when the university gave birth to Tiger Cub. Also referenced as “½,” (which is written as his jersey number), Tiger Cub can be spotted alongside The Tiger signing autographs, doing pushups, or simply just goofing off at major sporting events and community gatherings throughout the semester.
“Eat ’Em Up, Tigers!”
C-L-E-M-S-O-N! Join The Clemson Tiger and Tiger Cub in celebrating the newly crowned champions by showing your support for the orange! Look no further than Fanatics.com for all of your Clemson fan gear and merchandise.