Tailgate and Tradition – The Tiger

This week’s Tailgate and Tradition post takes a closer look at how Mizzou became The Tigers.

Here are the details from MUTigers.com:

The nickname “Tigers,” given to Mizzou’s athletic teams, traces its origin to the Civil War period. At that time, plundering guerilla bands habitually raided small towns, and Columbia people constantly feared an attack. Such organizations as temporary “home guards” and vigilance companies banded together to fight off any possible forays.

The town’s preparedness discouraged any guerilla activity and the protecting organization began to disband in 1854. However, it was rumored that a guerilla band, led by the notorious Bill Anderson, intended to sack the town. Quickly organized was an armed guard of Columbia citizens, who built a blockhouse and fortified the old courthouse in the center of town. This company was called “The Missouri Tigers.”

The marauders never came. The reputation of the intrepid “Tigers” presumably traveled abroad, and Anderson’s gang detoured around Columbia.

Soon after Missouri’s first football team was organized in 1890, the athletic committee adopted the nickname “Tiger” in official recognition of those Civil War defenders. Their spirit is now embodied in the MU mascot – “Truman the Tiger.” In 1984, the Tiger was named Truman after President Harry S. Truman, a Missouri native.

The Tiger spirit is embodied all over campus, from Truman to the MIzzou athletics logo to the Tiger statue at the entrance to Carnahan Quadrangle on the south part of campus. With all this history, Tiger fans bleed black and gold for a reason!

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