The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin Chen June 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Landshark Tony visits Kyle Field

Landshark+Tony+was+announced+as+the+official+mascot+of+the+Ole+Miss+Rebels+in+October+2017.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Landshark Tony was announced as the official mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels in October 2017.

The dark gray shark that stood on the sidelines of Kyle Field on Saturday isn’t just an internet meme that came to life. It’s a tribute to one of the Rebels’ former players and the long-standing tradition he started.
According to the Ole Miss athletics website, the Rebels started using the term “Landshark” in 2008, thanks to then-senior defensive end Tony Fein, an Iraq war veteran who served a tour overseas before joining the team.
In his senior season with the Rebels, Fein was a contributor who helped turn around the defense and revive a program which had four straight losing seasons. During Fein’s senior season, the Rebels went 9-4 and beat No. 7 Texas Tech in the 2009 Cotton Bowl.
Fein died of an accidental drug overdose a year later after his time at Ole Miss.
The Ole Miss defense began using the Landshark signal to celebrate major stops on the field. Players would place their thumb on their for head with fingers extended to make a shark fin. This action began to spread across Ole Miss, making it a staple of the university.
According to an article in The Daily Mississippian, students voted for Ole Miss to replace Rebel the Black Bear with Landshark Tony as the on-field mascot. Tony was a clear winner with 81 percent of the vote.
Ole Miss head cheer coach Ryan O’Connor said after the students voted for the change, other steps followed to officially switch to Landshark Tony.
“There were several other groups that voted on it after the students brought it to the athletic department’s attention,” O’Connor said. “It was pretty unanimous across the board that alumni, students and even in the athletic department that students wanted a change.”
On Aug. 11, 2018, Ole Miss introduced Tony to Ole Miss fans before the start of the season at “Meet the Rebels,” an event that allows fans to interact with the football team before the season starts.
O’Connor said the new mascot has been well-received by students and alumni as well as other universities they have traveled to this season.
“We’ve noticed that other fan bases, especially A&M’s today, have really enjoyed him,” O’Connor said.
The opportunity to honor a veteran and the player who made such an impact in Oxford is something that O’Connor said has resonated with her.
“It’s been fun having a mascot that really means something and pays tribute to somebody was so special to our university,” O’Connor said.
Landshark Tony wears jersey No. 47, which was Fein’s jersey during his time at Ole Miss.
Jennifer Sanogo, mother of Ole Miss linebacker Mohamed Sanogo — a Texan — said she was originally confused about the tradition but has since embraced it as her son has spent more time in Oxford.
“I think it’s fun,” Sanogo said. “I love it. I didn’t understand it initially because I wasn’t as familiar with the Ole Miss players’ history, but now that my son plays, I’ve learned as he has gone to school.”
Sanago said she doesn’t know what her son Mohamed thinks of the mascot but, she has seen him do the “Fins Up” signal.
Amanda Hunt, a 2017 Ole Miss graduate, said Landshark Tony has a special place in her heart because of the significance and honor he represents.
“I like it because of this history it brings from the veteran we lost,” Hunt said. “He was a big part of our team back then. I think it’s better than the black bear as well. It means something more to Ole Miss.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *