Ole Miss

Goodbye bear, hello Landshark: Ole Miss moves forward to replace mascot

Former Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein flashes the “landshark.” Ole Miss announced Friday that the school plans to “retire” Rebel the Bear as its on-field mascot and replace it with the Landshark.”
Former Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein flashes the “landshark.” Ole Miss announced Friday that the school plans to “retire” Rebel the Bear as its on-field mascot and replace it with the Landshark.”

Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter announced in an email Friday that the school plans to move forward with replacing its on-field mascot.

After the student body voted to replace Rebel the Bear with the “Landshark,” Vitter said the school has signed off on the change.

“We recognize that their efforts stem from a desire to unify the Ole Miss family,” Vitter said in a release. “The results of the Landshark poll confirm the sentiments that Ross and I have heard since arriving on campus — that the Landshark and ‘Fins Up’ have become synonymous with the positive spirit and strength of our athletics program and the ‘Never Quit’ attitude of Rebel Nation.”

Vitter said the athletics department will be in charge of designing, developing and launching the Landshark mascot, with an anticipated unveiling before the 2018 season.

Vitter pointed to a “mystique” around the Landshark and even singled out former basketball star Marshall Henderson and softball pitcher Kaitlin Lee — a Harrison Central and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College graduate — flashing the “Fins Up” signal on the basketball court and softball field.

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

Vitter signed the email “Hotty Toddy and Fins Up!”

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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