Celebrating 60 Years of The Tiger
Sixty years ago, the Clemson family grew by one, one who quickly became one of the most recognizable, lovable and iconic members of the family: the Tiger mascot.
He’s been to every football game since his welcome to the Clemson family, done thousands of push-ups, visited hospitals and even danced at weddings. But only the select few actually have had the honor of bringing life to the Tiger.
With around 350 appearances each year, committing to being the “man in the suit” is no small feat. These men must travel frequently and train extensively, spending hours brainstorming and executing creative and entertaining stunts, mastering the mascot’s mannerisms and practicing hundreds of push-ups in preparation for sporting events all while still balancing a full student workload.
Michael Bays ’97, M ’99, Tiger mascot from 1994 through 1997 and record holder for most push-ups in his career, organized a reunion of former Tigers during Homecoming to share stories and memories of their glory days behind the mask as a celebration of the Tiger’s 60th birthday.
“Not only did being the Tiger bring me closer to my school,” said Bays, “but it also brought me closer to many people and taught me that the most important thing is putting a smile on a person’s face.”
An impressive total of 35 alumni and former Tiger mascots gathered together to tailgate, reunite at Death Valley and honor the birthday of their beloved mascot. Among others, this group included several Tiger legends such as Zach Mills ’80, inventor of the push-up tradition, push-up record-setters like Bays, and the oldest living Tigers, Billy McCown ’60 and *Steve “Frog” Morrison ’63.
“I think all of us feel a special connection to Clemson that nobody else can ever understand,” said Bays. “When the Tiger is around, it is magic. All I can say is that with 35 Tigers around, the magic is indescribable.”
For more stories of Mascots though the years, go to clemson.edu/clemsonworld and click on “Alumni Profiles.”