Aubie, Auburn's costumed tiger mascot, is a spirit leader and goodwill ambassador for Auburn University. A popular character among Auburn fans and one of the most animated mascots in the country, Aubie is the living spirit of Auburn. His striking good looks, personal appeal, and daring antics combine to make the character fans cannot ignore. It is often said women love him, children adore him, and men want to be him.
Aubie has won a record nine mascot national championships (his latest coming in 2016) — more than any other mascot in the United States. Aubie was named the 2014 Capital One Mascot of the Year and was among the first three college mascots inducted to the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2006.
Aubie's existence began as a cartoon character that first appeared on the Auburn vs. Hardin-Simmons football program cover on Oct. 3, 1959. Birmingham Post-Herald Artist Phil Neel created the cartoon tiger that continued to adorn Auburn program covers for 18 years.
Aubie's look evolved through the years. In 1962, Aubie began to stand upright, and in 1963, he wore clothes for the first time — a blue tie and straw hat. Aubie's appearances on game programs proved to be somewhat of a good luck charm for Coach “Shug” Jordan's teams. The Tigers were victorious in the first nine games in which he graced the cover, and in his first six years, Auburn posted a 23-2-1 home record. Auburn's home record during the 18 years Aubie served as cover tiger was 63-16-2.
Aubie's last regular appearance on the game program cover was Oct. 23, 1976, when Auburn downed Florida State, 31-19. Aubie was called back for three special Iron Bowl appearances: the 1987 game in Birmingham, celebrating and commemorating the 40th renewal of the modern Auburn-Alabama series; the 1989 game celebrating the Tide's first-ever trip to Auburn; and in 1991 when Auburn played its final “home game” in Birmingham's Legion Field.
In 1979, Aubie came to life at the Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament. James Lloyd, Auburn spirit director for the Student Government Association, with help from the Alumni Association, contacted Brooks-Van Horn Costumes in New York. The company was provided with copies of the 1961 Auburn-Alabama and 1962 Auburn-Georgia Tech game programs to use for reference in creating a costume of the cartoon character.
The firm, which also provided costumes for Walt Disney, designed and produced a tiger costume for $1,350. Individual contributions from various Auburn clubs, alumni, and friends helped pay for the first costume.
Aubie proudly marched into the Birmingham-Jefferson County Civic Center on Feb. 28, 1979, and helped lead first-year Auburn coach Sonny Smith's team to an upset of Vanderbilt in his first appearance as a live tiger mascot. The following day, Aubie returned to the arena and the Tigers surprised Georgia in the longest game in SEC tournament history — four overtimes. Before the weekend was complete, Aubie helped lead the ninth-place team in the regular season to the semifinals of the tournament.