1/19/06 Contact: David M. Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Katie Wilder, 334/844-9999 (wildeka@auburn.edu)


AUBURN - Aubie, Auburn University’s tiger mascot, has been named the nation’s No. 1 collegiate mascot for the sixth time and continues his legacy as the most successful college mascot in history.

The lovable and mischievous costumed tiger bested nine other competitors at the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s 2006 national championship mascot competition in Orlando, Fla., last weekend.

Aubie will receive his trophy during a presentation at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Arkansas this Saturday. The game begins at 1 p.m.

“We’re very excited. From the beginning of the year, Aubie said he wanted to bring home the sixth title in 06,” said Michael Reynolds, the advisor to Aubie. “Winning the title makes us even more competitive. We really raised the bar, even for ourselves.”

Three AU students serve as official “friends of Aubie.” This year’s team is made up of head Aubie Evan Thomas, a senior in communications from Dothan, Ala.; David Smith, a senior in sciences and mathematics from Ozark, Ala.; and Chris Delvizis, a senior in wireless engineering software from Brentwood, Tenn.

As part of the competition, the trio submitted a two-minute video tape last fall of Aubie highlights throughout the past year. Aubie’s video was judged in six categories including overall character development; game situations; crowd involvement; cheer, dance and band integration; school activities and overall impression.

The video, which counted for 50 percent of the competition, received first place. The remaining 50 percent of the competition was a one-and-a-half minute skit performed before judges in Orlando.

Aubie took the title over runner-up Red of Arkansas State University, third-place Sparty of Michigan State University, fourth place YoUDee of the University of Delaware and Goldy Gopher of the University of Minnesota, who finished fifth. In-state rival Big Al of the University of Alabama finished ninth.

Aubie continues to be the winningest collegiate mascot with six national championships. His five previous UCA national championships were in 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2003. Thomas said he was told at the competition that the most titles won by any other mascot is two.

“We’ve been on top for a while now and our program is unique enough to continue a standard of excellence year after year,” Thomas said. “But the program is always moving forward.” He said preparations have already begun for next year’s competition.

Aubie, who began as a cartoon created by Birmingham artist Phil Neel and featured on Auburn home football program covers from 1958 through 1976, came to life as the official AU mascot in 1979. Aubie never speaks, but his animated antics entertain Auburn fans of all ages at sporting events and other special occasions.

Auburn University is a preeminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

(Contributed by Katie Wilder.)

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