Ole Miss adopts Landshark mascot; retiring Bear

Published 10:25 am Friday, October 6, 2017

It’s official: Ole Miss will retire its Rebel the Bear mascot and adopt the Landshark as its official mascot.

Ole Miss Chancellor Dr. Jeff Vitter announced the move in a letter he sent to university stakeholders today. The Landshark is expected to be unveiled before the 2018 season, Dr. Vitter said.

The Landshark does not threaten Ole Miss’ Rebels nickname, according to the Chancellor.

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“…I want to state unequivocally that we are — and always will be — the Ole Miss Rebels. And I am asking all Rebels to unite around our new Landshark mascot,” Dr. Vitter said in the letter.

Dr. Vitter said in his letter announcing the move that Ole Miss’ athletics department, under the direction of Vice Chancellor for Athletics Ross Bjork, will be charged with designing, developing and launching the new Landshark mascot.

Ole Miss students voted overwhelmingly last week to adopt the Landshark. The vote was advisory to university leadership. In recent days, the Chancellor has received additional feedback from stakeholders prompting the move.

“Upon learning of the ASB poll of students, we sought input from the executive committees of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, the Staff Council, the Faculty Senate, and the Graduate Student Council, as well as from the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Spirit Squad head coaches,” Dr. Vitter said.

“In each case, the support for the Landshark mascot was unanimous. In addition, the past presidents of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the boards of the Alumni Association and M-Club enthusiastically endorsed the action of the Alumni Association executive committee.”

The four-day student vote was organized by the Associated Student Body. According to a letter posted to the ASB Facebook page, over 4100 votes were cast this week with 81 percent of those votes in favor of a Landshark as Ole Miss’ mascot.

The Black Bear, which officially emerged after a 2010 student vote to replace Colonel Reb, retired in 2003.

The landshark finished second in the 2010 vote to the black bear. It became something Ole Miss fans embraced as a gesture in 2008 when a Rebel football player made the “fins up” gesture on the playing field. Since then fans and Ole Miss cheerleaders have actively embraced the

Since then fans and Ole Miss cheerleaders have actively embraced the landshark gesture during football games and students and alumni embrace “fins up” on social media.

You can read Ole Miss Chancellor Dr. Jeff Vitter’s complete letter here.