Colonel Reb was the traditional mascot of Ole Miss. Traditional doesn’t actually mean old in this case, however. While the University of Mississippi was founded in 1848, Reb, a white-haired, bearded symbol of a planter of the old south, had actually only been the school’s mascot since 1979.
Many students on campus objected to the way Reb appeared to glorify the pre-Civil War south. Despite his apparent resemblance to Colonel Sanders, Reb was actually physically based on a black man, Jim Ivy, a campus fixture in the early twentieth century. Ivy, who died in 1955, was blind and said to quip: “I’ve never seen Ole Miss lose a game.”
For the last seven years Ole Miss athletic teams have been without a mascot, though Reb is still very popular with campus sports fans. New mascot possibilities include a riverboat gambler or a colonial soldier. Perhaps sarcastically, some students have pushed the school to choose Star Wars’s character Admiral Ackbar as the new Ole Miss mascot.
Before World War II, Ole Miss teams were known simply as “The Flood.”