For more than 100 years, eagles have been associated with Auburn University's football program. From a static presence on the sidelines to rousing flights over the field, War Eagle has become an Auburn icon. Eagles stir emotions in many people as they have come to symbolize strength, power, and courage as well as other important values such as freedom, American heritage, and the preservation of our environment.
The role of Auburn University's eagles is to promote wildlife conservation as a part of the education initiatives of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the College of Veterinary Medicine's Southeastern Raptor Center. The USF&WS permits the Raptor Center to house eagles and use them on hundreds of educational presentations each year — including Auburn's home football games.
Auburn's most famous eagle was Tiger (War Eagle VI), who was hatched in captivity in 1980 and came to live at Auburn University in 1986. A frequent sideline fixture, she was the first eagle to free fly at the Wyoming game on Aug. 31, 2000. She flew prior to many games as well as at educational programs and the 2002 Winter Olympics. At the Georgia game in November 2006, Tiger made her last stadium flight and retired. A halftime ceremony at that game recognized her contributions to the Auburn community and to the USF&WS conservation mission. Tiger died on June 18, 2014 at age 34, outliving the average lifespan of a golden eagle.
Although not titled War Eagle VII until November 2006, Nova's first pre-game flight was at the Kentucky game in 2004. Nova was hatched in 1999 at the Montgomery Zoo and came to Auburn in 2000. Nova looks similar to Tiger but has a smaller stature because he is a male. Like Tiger, Nova appears in scores of educational programs every year.
Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. His first game flight was in 2001. You can recognize Spirit soaring before kickoff because unlike the golden eagles, Spirit has bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. He came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Raptor Center. His damaged beak makes him non-releasable. Bald eagles are found throughout Alabama and wild ones can sometimes be seen soaring in Auburn skies.
The Tiger Walk at Auburn University is one of the most imitated traditions in all of college sports.
Each gameday, the Tigers walk from the Athletics Complex down Donahue Drive to Jordan-Hare Stadium. But the team doesn't make the walk alone; they are cheered on by the thousands of Auburn fans who line the street and, in the process, create one of the great scenes in college football. The walk begins two hours before each game.
The tradition began in the 1960s when groups of kids would walk up the street to greet the team and get autographs. It has grown to become one of the most treasured of Auburn traditions.
The most famous Tiger Walk took place on Dec. 2, 1989, the day Auburn welcomed Alabama to campus for the first time ever. Previously, the Auburn-Alabama series had only been played at Legion Field in Birmingham.
Auburn officials estimate that 20,000 fans lined Donahue Drive for the Tiger Walk that day. ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel, who was there that day, wrote "the height of emotion [the Tiger Walk] reached in 1989 will be a watermark for years to come."
Other institutions need to give descriptive names to their bands in order to praise them. The quality of the music, the precision of its drills, and the fine image that it portrays have made it unnecessary for us to say more than “This is the Auburn University Marching Band.”
For more than a century, the Auburn University Marching Band has captivated audiences across the nation with spectacular performances. Whether marching before the home crowd or away, the Auburn Band has attained a position of national distinction and a reputation for excellence second to none.
Band members are chosen by audition, and represent virtually every school and curriculum on the Auburn campus. About 75 of the 375 members are music majors preparing for careers as performers or teachers. The band includes members from more than 20 states as well as throughout Alabama.
The Auburn University Marching Band has built an international reputation for its precise, entertaining, and colorful performances on the field, unyielding and spirited support for its sports teams, and prideful ambassadorship for Auburn University. The marching band was named the 2004 recipient of the Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy, the nation's highest and most coveted award for college and university marching bands.
With 380 members, the current marching band is the largest in university history. The band performed at the 2014 BCS National Championship Game and the 2013 SEC Championship Game. Other prominent appearances include the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, 2010 Outback Bowl and the 2008 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. The band was one of only six collegiate marching bands selected by ESPN to participate in its 2008 Battle of the Bands promotion.
Throughout its history, one of the primary goals of the Auburn University Marching Band has been to foster the Auburn Spirit. With more than 30 performances and exhibitions starting early in the fall and extending through the bowl season, the Auburn Band does exactly that.
For more information, please visit band.auburn.edu.
It's not hard to find the celebration after a big win at Auburn. Just head for the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, where Auburn's campus and the city of Auburn come together. Since the beginning of Auburn athletics, Tiger fans have celebrated victories there. Just watch out for flying rolls of toilet paper.
The intersection, which marks the transition from downtown Auburn to the university campus, is known as Toomer's Corner. It is named after former State Senator "Shel" Toomer (a halfback on Auburn's first football team in 1892), who founded Toomer's Drugs in 1896. Toomer's Drugs is a small business on the corner that has been an Auburn landmark for more than 130 years.
The tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner is said to have begun when Toomer's Drugs had the only telegraph in the city. During away football games, when employees of the local drug store received news of a win, they would throw the ticker tape from the telegraph onto the power lines.
The beginning of the tradition of throwing toilet paper into the trees, power lines, and every other stationary object on the corner is open to debate.
"We celebrated Pat Sullivan winning the Heisman Trophy there in 1971, and no toilet paper was tossed," said David Housel, Auburn Athletics Director Emeritus. "That started a year later when we celebrated the 17-16 victory over Alabama in the `Punt, Bama, Punt' game."
That was the game in which Auburn ran back two punts for touchdowns in the last six minutes. The use of toilet paper was inspired by comments from Terry Henley, a colorful halfback whose rural drawl made him a darling of reporters. The unbeaten Crimson Tide was second in the nation coming into the game, and Henley made a pledge: "We're going to beat the No. 2 out of Alabama."
Hence the rolls of Charmin.
The Toomer's Oaks were removed in April 2013, after a poisoning incident that occurred after the Iron Bowl in 2010. Although the trees didn't survive, the tradition at Toomer's will carry on.
New Oaks Planted
Despite the 23-degree weather, members of the Auburn Family gathered around Toomer's Corner and cheered as two new live oaks were planted at Toomer's Corner on Feb. 14, 2015.
The new trees came from a nursery owned by MeadWestvaco in Ehrhardt, S.C. Both are approximately 35 feet tall with 30-foot spreads. Large cranes were used to lower the trees into their respective places, while workers attached support straps to stabilize the trees as they acclimate to their new home.
(Link to video of new trees being delivered)
The planting of the oaks is the final step in Phase I of the Samford Park renovation, which included enlarging the plaza and improving the landscaping near the corner. The second phase featured the planting of thirty 15-foot-tall trees — grown from acorns collected from the original oaks - between Toomer's Corner and Samford Hall.
To give the new live oaks adequate time to take root and acclimate to their new environment, Auburn fans are being asked to wait until fall 2016 before the tradition of rolling the trees can resume.
More information is available at auburn.edu/oaks.