BIG AL The EVOLUTION of a MASCOT
• TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • he sight of Big Al is so commonplace at University of Alabama events that fans would find it far stranger if they did not see their beloved mascot ambling throughout the crowd, posing for pictures and delighting the public. But how did the Crimson Tide mascot come to be? The image of an elephant storming the field was first conjured in the minds of Tuscaloosa sports fans in 1930 when a writer by the name of Everett Strupper described the Alabama football team in
the Atlanta Journal as, “a typical [Alabama head coach Wallace] Wade machine, powerful, big, tough, fast, aggressive, well-schooled in fundamentals, and the best blocking team for this early in the season that I have ever seen. When those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes. “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.” The Tide won the national title that year, and from then on
| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010
the elephant became both a mascot and a symbol for Alabama prowess. Big Al officially made his costumed debut in 1979, when Paul “Bear” Bryant and his elite Crimson Tide squad took on Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions in the infamous Sugar Bowl that gave Bryant his fifth national title. Over the years the costume has changed with the times, sporting various eye sizes, different jerseys, floppier trunks, but never losing the energy and spunk fans from around the nation have come to love.
Touchdown Alabama Magazine - Tennessee 2010