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What is the mascot for the Miami Hurricanes? Sebastian the Ibis and other UM traditions

Sebastian the Ibis is the official mascot for the University of Miami Hurricanes. He is an anthropomorphic white ibis sporting a Miami Hurricanes jersey.

The Miami Hurricanes mascot after a touchdown

In 1926, Nathan Duncan selected The Ibis as Miami’s informal emblem, following the University of Miami’s student body decision to name their yearbook after the native marsh bird. The Ibis is admired for its bravery during hurricanes and is believed to be a leader among other birds. It is instinctive to detect danger and warn other wildlife by being the last to take shelter. After the storm, the Ibis is the first to reappear, symbolizing clear skies.

The Miami Hurricanes’ first official mascot, Hurricane I, was a 65-pound brown and white boxer dog wearing a ceremonial orange and green blanket with his name inscribed in white. This was in 1950.

Sebastian, the current Miami Hurricanes’ mascot, was created in August 1957 by Norman A. Whitten, Director of the Student Union at UM, and entered a homecoming competition. The following year, student John Stormont dressed in a homemade Ibis costume and performed at Miami Hurricanes football games. The original costume used ammolite insulation for the head, white terry cloth for the body resembling feathers, ROTC spats for the feet, and burlap-made toes.

Sebastian, the University of Miami’s mascot, is known for leading the Hurricanes football team onto the field before games, creating an electrifying atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium. Sporting a fierce and intimidating look, Sebastian charges onto the field with the players, often jumping, spinning, and pumping up the crowd. The moment is further enhanced by the release of smoke, adding a dramatic effect to the beginning of the game. It is a tradition that has become synonymous with the University of Miami football and is one of the most memorable sights in college football.

Other UM traditions

The University of Miami Hurricanes, a powerhouse in collegiate athletics, boasts a rich tapestry of traditions that have shaped its identity over the years. From the origins of its name to the spirited rituals observed during football games, the Hurricanes’ traditions are as diverse as they are captivating.

The Birth of “Hurricanes”

The name “Hurricanes” has an unclear origin. The football team chose it in 1927 to represent their indomitable spirit, inspired by a catastrophic storm in 1926. Some argue that it perpetuates a negative image of a community under constant threat of destruction.

Lil’ Joe & Touchdown Tommy - A Bang to Remember

The Sigma Chi fraternity fires the “Lil’ Joe” cannon at Miami Hurricanes games to celebrate each touchdown, creating an explosive atmosphere.

Four Fingers - Symbolizing Victory

As every home football game’s fourth quarter dawns, a collective gesture emerges. Miami players and fans come together, raising four fingers upwards. This simple sign indicates their unwavering faith that the game’s destiny is determined in that crucial final period. For dedicated Hurricanes enthusiasts, this gesture is more than a sign; it’s a proclamation of their ownership over the fourth quarter.

Band of the Hour - Marching to Excellence

The Band of the Hour is the largest and most spirited student organization on campus. They’ve performed at major bowl games, such as the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton Bowls, and are known for their electrifying pre-game and halftime shows. They hold the unique honor of being the host band for the American Bandmasters’ Association. The band was nicknamed “Band of the Hour” during a halftime performance at the Orange Bowl in 1948.

Iron Arrow - The Ultimate Honor

The Iron Arrow Honor Society was established in 1926 and is considered the highest honor that can be achieved at the University of Miami. The society has a historical connection with the Seminole Nation and now the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Every two years, new members are selected based on their representation of “Character, Leadership, Humility, Scholarship, and Love of Alma Mater.” The eligible candidates for the selection process include UM students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees.

War Canoe Trophy - A Symbol of Spirit

In 1955, the War Canoe Trophy was presented as a remarkable symbol of the tenacious spirit of the independent Florida Seminole tribe. This trophy is made from a centuries-old Everglades cypress tree and was carved and painted by Seminole Indians. It represents the annual showdown between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators. Today, this prized relic is displayed on campus in UM’s Sports Hall of Fame.