Florida State Traditions

Chief_Osceola_on_Renegade_FSU Courtesy of CHolder68

You are surrounded by thousands of people singing some kind of war chant while their arms are moving back and forth in unison.  Suddenly, a Native American man on horseback appears out of nowhere and throws a flaming spear into the middle of a large, green field.  Are you witnessing a late 1800s pre-battle Native American ritual?  Well–yes and no.  You’re actually witnessing a pre-game ritual before the Florida State University Seminoles football team battles an opponent in Doak Campbell stadium.  Let’s take a look at some of the FSU traditions–Osceola, the war chant, and  the Unconquered Statue.

The Native American on horseback is a student dressed in authentic regalia portraying famous Seminole leader Osceola.  The horse is an Appaloosa named Renegade.  The original idea of Osceola and Renegade came from student Bill Durham in 1962.  Durham did not get support for his idea until Bobby Bowden became head coach in the 1970s.  Bowden encouraged Durham to begin the Osceola/ Renegade pre-game ritual but only after the Seminole Tribe of Florida approved of it.  Not only did the tribe approve of the ritual but agreed  to design the regalia for Osceola.  Osceola and Renegade first appeared before games in 1978.

The war chant has existed in some form since the 1960s but began its current popularity at the 1984 FSU-Auburn football game.  The band performed the cheer that had existed since the 1960s.  But this time, after the band stopped, some students behind the band continued the war chant portion of the cheer.  Other fans in the stadium started the popular chopping motion symbolizing a tomahawk swinging down.  The chant and chop continued in the student section during the 1985 season and became a stadium-wide tradition in 1986.

The newest FSU symbol and tradition is the Unconquered Statue arising 31 feet outside the south entrance to Doak Campbell stadium.  Unveiled in 2004, the statue depicts a spear-brandishing Seminole astride a rearing horse.  The statue celebrates the indomitable human spirit.  At sunset before each home game, the spear is ignited and allowed to burn until sunrise the morning after the game.

Florida State traditions help make college football the great game that it is.  Go ‘Noles!

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