In 1934, a decision had been made that would forever change life on the LSU
campus. Athletic Director trainer Chellis Mike Chambers, Athletic Director T.P.
Heard, swimming pool manager and intramural swimming coach William G. Hickey
Higginbotham, and LSU law student Ed Laborde decided to bring a real tiger to
LSU. They raised $750, collecting twenty-five cents from each student, and
purchased a two-hundred-pound, one-year old tiger from the Little Rock Zoo.
Born on October 10, 1935, and like his father,
originally named Sheik, his name was changed to
Mike in honor of Chambers, the man most
responsible for bringing him to LSU. Interestingly,
Mike I must have remembered his original name
because even years later Hickey Higginbotham
could get him to roar just by calling Sheik.
It was early in the morning on Wednesday, October 21, 1936.
Onlookers lined Highland Road, awaiting the entourage arriving
from the train station. LSU students staged a campus strike
equal to none to welcome their new tiger mascot to campus.
Mike I would assume his duties only three days after arriving on
campus. He would reign at LSU for nearly twenty years, traveling
with the team and serving as the LSU mascot.
Mike I died on Friday, June 29, 1956 of complications associated with kidney
disease. He was twenty years and eight months old at his death. He created
a legacy in which Mike the Tiger has come to symbolize the heart and soul of