Magnolia State Live reported today that Ole Miss will officially be changing its mascot to the landshark, retiring Rebel Black Bear.
BREAKING: Ole Miss boots Rebel Black Bear, adopts the landshark as the official university mascot— Alex McDaniel (@AlexMcDaniel) October 6, 2017
The athletics department will design, develop, and launch the landshark mascot, with an anticipated unveiling before the 2018 season, and Rebel the Bear is retired effective immediately.
Landshark mascot won’t be unveiled until before ‘18 season. Rebel the Bear (RIP) wont be at Vandy game, it’s retired as of today. https://t.co/zNQapLbCIq— Antonio Morales (@AntonioCMorales) October 6, 2017
Vitter said in a statement: “Today, I’m excited to announce that we will move forward with the Landshark as the official mascot and retire Rebel the Bear... the growth of the Landshark mystique over the last seven years has been phenomenal with every athletics team embracing it, including such standouts as Marshall Henderson with basketball and Kaitlin Lee with softball, in leading their respective teams to SEC championships...I want to state unequivocally that we are — and always will be — the Ole Miss Rebels. And I am asking all Rebels to unite around our new Landshark mascot.”
The landshark has been the unofficial mascot of the Ole Miss defense since 2008. That year, the Rebels rode a strong defense to a 9-4 record and a victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. The term “landshark” came from Army veteran Tony Fein, who served a one-year tour in Iraq before playing two years for the Rebels.
It will be the third mascot change for Ole Miss since 2003, when Colonel Reb was booted off the sidelines and Rebel the black bear replaced him in 2010.
It’s safe to say that the athletics department endorses the move.