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Big Al
Big Al (mascot).jpg

University University of Alabama
Conference SEC
Description Anthropomorphic elephant
Origin of name University of Alabama
First seen 1979
Official website Big Al

Big Al is the costumed mascot of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The origin of the mascot dates back to 1930. On October 8, a sportswriter wrote about the previous weekend's Alabama-Ole Miss football game. The writer, using the flair for the dramatic common in sportswriting at the time, wrote that an anonymous fan yelled out "Here come the elephants" upon hearing the rumble of the first team coming on the field. The name stuck throughout what became a national championship season and beyond.

Melford Espey, Jr., then a student, was the first to wear an elephant head costume to portray the Crimson Tide's mascot in the early 1960s. Espey later became a university administrator and Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant invited him to resurrect the costumed mascot in the late 1970s.[1]

The costumed "Big Al" mascot officially debuted at the 1979 Sugar Bowl, when the Tide beat Penn State University for the national championship. Since then, the mascot has been a fan favorite for the Tide fans. As the Crimson Tide do not have a logo on their helmets or uniforms, Big Al's likeness appears on much team merchandise and such.

Big Al was named by student vote. Various names were put before the student body, who were allowed to complete ballots at the Student Union and "SUPe Store". One of the names was "Big Al", which was also the name of a 'well-known about campus' member of the University of Alabama Rugby Football club, Alfred Lee "Big Al" Brown, now living in the Birmingham, AL area. Brown was known as the "DJ" for the club's after-match parties. When the members of the Rugby Club saw that "Big Al" was among the selections, they lobbied among the many attenders of the club's somewhat infamous parties to come to the Student Union and vote for that name. And So, the mascot was named for a popular Sports Figure on the campus of that era. Other members of the team, such as Ellis Rudd of Trussville, Walker Scott of Birmingham, and Frederick D. Bone of Northport were all present, and part and parcel to this act and to this day point out Brown in the community as namesake to Big Al the mascot.


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