U of M mascot dies
TOM II, the Bengal Tiger mascot of The University of Memphis, died this morning. He was 17 years old.
TOM, which stands for Tigers Of Memphis, was acquired by Bobby Wharton and the late Ray Daniels of the Football booster group Highland Hundred in the fall of 1991 and was hand-raised by William P. “Nickie” Nixon at St. Nick’s Farm.
“TOM was an important part of the University family for a long time, and we are devastated at his loss,” Wharton said. “It was a privilege and a true labor of love to head this project. I will miss him dearly.”
TOM II was diagnosed with cancer during a recent annual medical examination.
“We had a very close relationship with TOM,” added Wharton. “Once it became evident that his quality of life would begin to suffer, and after consulting with our veterinary team, it became obvious that the right thing to do would be to allow him to pass on with dignity and without pain and suffering.”
An exhibit to honor previous and future TOMs will be part of the new Athletic Hall of Fame, which will begin construction this fall at the corner of Southern and Normal.
The Tiger Guard, the Highland Hundred committee responsible for caring for TOM, is already making arrangements to secure a new Tiger to serve as TOM III.
A memorial is planned for the Tigers’ homecoming game against Southern Miss on Oct. 25. The Tiger Guard asks that any memorials be sent to the Highland Hundred via the Tiger Football office at 136 Athletic Office Building, Memphis, 38152.