From cheering on the Tide at sporting events to dancing around campus, our beloved mascot is a key component of tradition on campus. Learn more about his story and look for Big Al during Bama Bound for your first official photo!

Story of Big Al

In the 1979 Sugar bowl, Alabama presented the Big Al elephant mascot for the first time. However, the University had been associated with the elephant since the 1930 season.

On October 8, 1930, sports writer Everett Strupper of the Atlanta Journal wrote a story of the Alabama-Mississippi game he had witnessed in Tuscaloosa four days earlier. Strupper wrote, “That Alabama team of 1930 is a typical Wade machine, powerful, big, tough, fast, aggressive, well-schooled in fundamentals, and the best blocking team for this early in the season that I have ever seen. When those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes.

Coach Wade started his second team that was plenty big and they went right to their knitting scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against one of the best fighting small lines that I have seen. For Ole Miss was truly battling the big boys for every inch of ground.

At the end of the quarter, the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow. Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.

It was the first time that I had seen it and the size of the entire eleven nearly knocked me cold, men that I had seen play last year looking like they had nearly doubled in size.”

Strupper and other writers continued to refer to the Alabama linemen as “Red Elephants,” the color referring to the crimson jerseys.

The 1930 team posted an overall 10-0 record. It shut out eight opponents and allowed only 13 points all season while scoring 217. The “Red Elephants” rolled over Washington State 24-0 in the Rose Bowl and were declared National Champions.

“History of Big Al.” Retrieved from http://www.rolltide.com/sports/2016/6/10/big-al.aspx . 

Big Al Fast Facts

  • In the 1940s, a live elephant mascot was used, named “Alamite.” He carried the homecoming queen onto the field before kick-off each year. In the 1950s, live elephants were hired from traveling circuses passing by for each homecoming.
  • In the 1960s, the elephant head costume was worn for the first time.
  • Big Al’s name came from a student vote, named after a popular DJ on campus named Al Brown!
  • Big Al is generally not allowed to interact with other university mascots after a fight ensued in 2002.