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Phil Neel, the man who created Aubie, dies


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Can't believe this hasn't been posted yet (that I've seen).

His program covers are one of my earliest memories of Auburn football, and I loved them for as long as they were produced!


July 25, 2012--AUBURN, Alabama -- Phil Neel, the Birmingham Post-Herald artist who created Aubie in the 1950s, died early this morning in Birmingham. He was 84.

Neel created Aubie, Auburn's beloved mascot, in 1957 for the cover of the school's football media guide. Aubie made a move to game programs in 1959, where he appeared regularly through 1976. Aubie later came to life as mascot in 1979 to roam sidelines and attend events.

Former Auburn Athletic Director David Housel said Neel's work was important.

"Phil's creation of Aubie is a part of our legend," Housel said. "It gave personification and a face to the name Auburn Tigers."

Neel died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Two of his sons, Mike and Rick, played for Auburn in the 1970s.

According to Wikipedia, Aubie's look changed through the years. In 1962, he began to stand upright and the next year, 1963, wore clothes for the first time--a blue tie and straw hat. Aubie's appearances on game programs proved to be somewhat of a good luck charm for head football coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan's teams. The Tigers were victorious in the first nine games Aubie graced the cover and in his first six years, Auburn posted a 23-2-1 home record. Auburn's home record during the 18 years Aubie served as Cover Tiger was 63-16-2. Aubie's regular appearance on the game program cover ended on Oct. 23, 1976, when Auburn downed Florida State, 31-19, but Aubie returned to Auburn's cover in the Iron Bowl against the Alabama on Nov. 30, 1991, Auburn's last home game at Birmingham's Legion Field.

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