LSU Traditions

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Louisiana State University (LSU) has a proud football tradition.  LSU fans routinely sell out Tiger stadium and wear something purple and gold while cheering on their beloved Tigers.  The following stories explain how the school adopted its nickname and colors.

The university began using the Tiger nickname during the 1896 football season. However, the origin of the name came from the Civil War. During the battle of Shenandoah, soldiers from New Orleans and Donaldsonville distinguished themselves through their tenacious fighting. Contemporaries referred to these men as the fighting Louisiana Tigers. The players on the 1896 team believed the Tiger name an appropriate moniker and the proud tradition lives on today.

Royal purple and Old Gold mark LSU’s official colors. One story goes that in the spring of 1893 the baseball team wore these colors for the first time during the game with Tulane and the colors stuck. Another story comes from November of the same year. The football team wanted something to adorn their gray uniforms for their first ever football game. Coach and chemistry professor Dr. Charles Coates and a few players went to Reymond’s Store in Baton Rouge. The store was stocking ribbon for Mardi Gras–purple, gold, and green. None of the green had arrived yet, so Coates and quarterback Ruffin Pleasant bought all of the purple and gold ribbons for the team to wear on their uniforms and the color tradition took root.

The LSU Tigers play before nearly 500,000 home fans a year. Most if not all wear something in Royal purple and Old Gold. The tradition lives on in Baton Rouge. Geaux Tigers!

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