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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Auburn University Football Uniform and Team History

Auburn University Tigers

1. This document was created by Scott Sillcox to provide information about:
- the uniform images depicted in poster shown above
- the particular players whose uniforms are shown in the poster
- the history of Auburn football
- Auburn’s football stadium
- Auburn's football team in general

If you would like to read an even more detailed version of this document in pdf form with approximately 30 accompanying images, please visit:

2. Please note that all of the actual original, one-of-a-kind artwork of the Auburn University football uniforms as seen in the poster above are actually available for sale. These watercolor paintings are truly beautiful, original watercolor paintings, and there are only 15 of them so please act quickly if you would like to buy one. These would make a wonderfully memorable, beautiful and completely unique gift for someone who loves Auburn football.

If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Auburn YouTube video at or go directly to the artwork website where you can see and purchase the artwork.

3. General Information about the Auburn University Football Team

What was originally known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama was renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899, although it was often referred to as simply "Auburn". The school officially became Auburn University in 1960.

4. For more information on Auburn football, you may want to visit these great websites:

The official Auburn University football team site can be found at:

The following website offers an excellent summary page of University of Auburn football, including a summary of Conference Championships; National Championships; Bowl Games; Coaches; Selected individual player records:

For further information and a view of Auburn's football stadium:
Note: this site is also a good resource for additional past & present NCAA stadiums.

5. Description and history of the uniforms depicted in the Auburn University Tigers football poster:

A quick note about the National Rankings and Polls shown below:
If Auburn was nationally ranked in "The Top 20" (or Top 10 in some years) in a particular season depicted in the poster, we show the team’s ranking. That being said, prior to 1936 there was no nationally recognized poll ranking the nation’s top teams, so you will not see any rankings prior to 1936.

From 1936 onward, we show the results of one, and then two, end-of-season polls annually ranking the Top 20 (or Top 10) college football teams. There have been various other polls over the years, but we have chosen to show the results of two polls.
1. The Associated Press (AP) Poll began in 1936 and is a poll of sportswriters. It continues to this day.
2. The United Press International (UP) Poll began in 1950 and is a poll of coaches. By 1993 it had became known as the USA Today/CNN poll, and by 1997 the USA Today/ESPN poll.


White canvas laced jacket-jersey. No uniform number or lettering on front. While woolen "cap" with orange trim.

1892 Record: Won 2, Lost 2

This painting of a laced canvas jacket-jersey honors the first season of Auburn football. The team played one game in February 1892 (a win over Georgia) and three in November (a win and two losses). The coach was George Petrie, who only coached this one year and the captain was Frank Lupton.

Auburn’s first football teams practiced on a field behind Samford Hall now occupied by Ross Square and Ross Chemistry Building. All games from 1892 to 1895 were played "on the road", ie none at Auburn - home games were played in Atlanta. The first true home game was November 7, 1896 vs Georgia Tech, and Auburn won 40-0. Cliff Hare was a member of the 1st team in 1892, and he went on to become a professor at Auburn and Dean of the School of Chemistry. The stadium built in 1939 was renamed Cliff Hare Stadium, and later renamed (and is still named) Jordan-Hare Stadium.


White-tan laced canvas "one piece jumper" with orange mid-section and sewn-on orange shoulder pads. No uniform number or lettering on front. Black rubber nose guard.

The 1903 team took to the field in this tan colored, laced canvas "one piece jumper". Most players wore black rubber nose guards, not helmets. Coached by Billy Bates in his only year of coaching, the team went 4 and 3 and were captained by J. P. Paterson.


Blue woolen jersey with orange sleeve stripes and tan pants. No uniform number or lettering on front. Natural leather (brown) helmet.

It is very hard to see in photos of team jerseys from 1913, but if you study them closely, you will see that many of the jerseys have stripes on the sleeves. Part of the reason that they are so hard to see is that in a black and white photograph, orange (especially a darker orange) looks very close to blue.

The 1913 Tigers were undefeated as they went 8-0 and were crowned SIAA Champions. In the process they outscored their opponents 223-13 (all but 2 of the 8 games were shutouts). Team captain was QB Kirk Newell. The team was coached by Mike Donahue, who coached for 18 seasons from 1904-06 and 1908-22. The Tigers followed their 1913 season with an 8-0-1 season in 1914.


White jersey with orange tiger head design. No uniform number or lettering on front. Natural leather / brown stove pipe helmet.

This Tiger-head jersey, worn only in 1929, is the only jersey in Auburn history to have a graphic image on it. The team struggled on the field, winning two and dropping 7, and saw coach George Bohler fired midway through the season. His replacement, John Floyd, lost the four games he coached and promptly left Auburn.

Our challenge in creating this jersey was that all the photos we found only showed the top 40% of the tiger’s head, not the bottom 60%. We wanted to show this jersey because it was so unique, thus we researched all tiger-head jerseys and logos from football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams in the 1920’s and 30’s to help us do the best possible guess as to what the bottom 60% of the tiger head may have looked like given that we knew what the top 40% looked like. If anyone associated with Auburn surfaces with a full photo of the 1929 tiger head jersey, we would gladly adjust our artwork - send info to - but until then, we feel that this is a reasonable facsimile of what the tiger head looked like. Please also note that the 40% of the Tiger head that we can see in the Glomerata (Auburn's yearbook) differs between players - these were likely made individually by hand and as such differed from jersey to jersey.


Blue jersey with orange uniform number. Blue helmet with orange stripes.

The 1932 Tigers went 9-0-1 - they tied their last game of the year - and won the Southern Conference. This 1932 uniform honors number 18, team captain Jimmy Hitchcock. Known as the "Phantom of Union Springs", Hitchcock was Auburn’s first All-American and as a triple threat as a passer, runner and punter. He also played baseball at Auburn and even played half a season in the majors with the Boston Braves.


Orange jersey with blue uniform number and sleeve stripes. Blue helmet.

This painting honors #11 Travis Tidwell who in 1946 lead the nation in offensive yards - as a freshman!

The 1946 team was coached by four-year man Carl Voyles and finished with four wins against six losses. This uniform honors quarterback and two-way player Travis Tidwell, who in 1946 lead the nation in total offense as a freshman! Tidwell also played baseball at Auburn, and later played two seasons with the NFL’s New York Giants.

The Tiger’s home stadium, Auburn Stadium (later known as Cliff Hare Stadium), was built in 1939 and had 7500 seats. It grew in bits and pieces from 1939, but from 1939 to 1949 only 12 home games were played there. By 1949 Cliff Hare Stadium had grown to seat 21,500.


White jersey with blue uniform number and blue and orange sleeve stripes. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

This painting honors one of Auburn’s greatest teams - the 10-0 National Champion 1957 Auburn Tigers. The team ranked first in the AP Poll and 2nd in the UPI poll, and over the course of their 10 victories they outscored their opponents 207-28 - in fact 6 of their 10 victories were shutouts.

This painting honors one of Auburn’s greatest teams - the 10-0 National Champion 1957 Auburn Tigers. The team ranked first in the AP poll and 2nd in the UPI poll, and over the course of their 10 victories they outscored their opponents 207-28 (all but 4 of the 10 games were shutouts).

#61 honors sophomore Zeke Smith who played both ways, and it was for his defensive work that he won the Outland Trophy in 1958. Smith was voted All-American in 1958 and 1959, followed by two years in the NFL. Following the pattern set in 1913 and repeated again in 1993 of great back-to-back seasons, the 1958 team went 9-0-1.

Legendary Ralph "Shug" Jordan was coach having taken the reins in 1951. As odd as it may sound, 1957 represented the first time in Auburn’s history that they had as many as four home games on their own home field in Auburn (Cliff Hare Stadium).

UP Rank
AP Rank Team
2 1 Auburn
1 2 Ohio State
3 3 Michigan State
4 4 Oklahoma
6 5 Navy
5 6 Iowa
8 7 Mississippi
7 8 Rice
10 9 Texas A&M
9 10 Notre Dame
11 11 Texas
12 12 Arizona State
16 13 Tennessee
14 Mississippi State
20 15 North Carolina State
14 16 Duke
17 Florida
13 18 Army
14 19 Wisconsin
20 VMI
17 Oregon
18 Clemson


Blue jersey with white uniform number and white/orange sleeve stripes. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

The 1963 team was coached by Ralph "Shug" Jordan, finished 9-2 (6-1 in the SEC) and was ranked 5th nationally by the AP Poll and 6th by UPI. Uniform #12 honors QB Jimmy Sidle, a 1963 All-American. Sidle was the first college QB ever to lead the nation in rushing as he gained 1,006 yards in 1963. Sidle, who played one season in the NFL, was inducted into Auburn's "Tiger Trails," a walk of fame honoring Auburn greats, in 1999.

UP Rank
AP Rank Team
1 1 Texas
2 2 Navy
4 3 Illinois
3 4 Pittsburgh
6 5 Auburn
5 6 Nebraska
7 7 Mississippi
9 8 Alabama
10 9 Michigan State
8 10 Oklahoma


Blue mesh jersey with white uniform number and white/orange sleeve stripes. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

The 1971 Auburn squad started 9-0, and were ranked 6th in the nation before dropping their last two games of the year to finish 9-2 (5-1 SEC). The team was ranked 12th by AP and 5th by UPI. The team was coached by Ralph "Shug" Jordan who had a remarkable 25 year run (1951-1975) and is the stuff of legend. In 1973 Cliff-Hare Stadium became Jordan-Hare Stadium - it was the first time that a major football stadium had been named for an active coach.

This 1971 painting honors Heisman Trophy winning QB Pat Sullivan who was Auburn’s first Heisman winner. In his three varsity seasons at Auburn (1969-71), Sullivan went 26-7 as he racked up 53 passing TD’s and 18 rushing TD’s and was named All-American in 1970 and 1971.

UP Rank (before Bowl Games)
AP Rank Team
1 1 Nebraska
3 2 Oklahoma
7 3 Colorado
2 4 Alabama
11 5 Penn State
4 6 Michigan
8 7 Georgia
6 8 Arizona State
9 9 Tennessee
16 10 Stanford
10 11 LSU
5 12 Auburn
15 13 Notre Dame
13 14 Toledo
20 15 Mississippi
20 16 Arkansas
14 17 Houston
12 18 Texas
19 Washington
20 USC


Orange jersey with white uniform number. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

This orange jersey was worn for one game in 1978 (Sat Nov 18, 1978 at home vs Georgia in a 22-22 tie). This was the first time in many years that the Tigers wore an orange jersey. In my opinion, the previous time the Tigers wore orange was in the early 1950’s (see 1946 photo for an orange jersey) but I have not researched the last date in the 40’s or 50’s that they wore orange jerseys. I came across some obscure web references to the Tigers having worn orange jerseys on Halloween eve in 1956, but nothing I found backed this up until I recently came across an Oct 29/55 reference (see below) as the last time the Tigers had previously worn orange jerseys. But from some time in the 50’s to the present, the only time it appears that the Tigers wore orange was:

1. In 1978 they wore orange jerseys on Nov 18 when Georgia played at Auburn (the game ended in a 22-22 tie).
2. In 1979 they wore orange jerseys on Nov 10 when Mississippi State played at Auburn (Auburn won 14-3).
3. In 1980 they wore orange jerseys on Nov 15 when Georgia played at Auburn (Auburn lost 31-21).

The orange jerseys appears to have been a coach Doug Barfield experiment (Barfield coached 1976-1980), and it appears they were worn the three times mentioned above - once in each of 1978, 1979 and 1980, and the team went 1-1-1 in orange. When Barfield left it appears the orange jersey experiment was dropped.

As recently as 2008 the orange jersey issue came up when the "Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks wore orange and Auburn wore white for Auburn’s homecoming (Nov 8/08). Coach Tommy Tuberville said Martin officials asked if the Skyhawks could wear orange. The Tigers agreed. Auburn wore orange jerseys a few times way back when, and although it hasn’t wore them since 1980, the rumor of wearing orange crops up almost every year. Tuberville was asked on his weekly radio call-in show when he would make the controversial decision to allow Auburn to wear orange again. ‘I better win a few more games before I do that,’ Tuberville joked. He said he liked Auburn’s traditional uniforms because they’re recognized nationally. Ironically, Martin looks a lot like Auburn when it wears its blue jerseys and orange-and-blue striped helmets." Source:

This site goes on to say "Auburn wore orange jerseys in 1978 against Georgia, in 1979 against Mississippi State and again in 1980 against Georgia. Those jerseys were 1-1-1 in those games, but lost the last one to the Bulldogs 31-23 and were retired. Auburn had last worn orange in 1955 against Tulane, but after losing 27-13, coach Shug Jordan burned them." The Tulane game was Oct 29/55 at Tulane, and 8th ranked Auburn lost to unranked Tulane 27-13 for their only regular season loss in 1955, so the burning suggestion makes some sense to me although I haven’t checked newspaper accounts because this came to light after I had done the bulk of my research. This Oct 29/55 date is also is in keeping with the above mentioned "Halloween eve" reference.

The 1978 team went 6-4-1 under 3rd year coach Doug Barfield who was previously offensive coordinator under legendary coach Shug Jordan. In their 11 game schedule, the Tigers played only four true home games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

#20 honors running back and senior Joe Cribbs who had a breakout season in 1978 before going on to a nine year NFL career highlighted by three Pro Bowl appearances. This orange jersey was worn for one game in 1978 (Sat Nov 18, 1978 at home vs Georgia in a 22-22 tie). This was the first time since the mid-50’s that the Tigers had worn an orange jersey. Legend has it that Auburn had last wore orange in their 1955 game against Tulane, but after the 8th ranked Tigers lost 27-13 to unranked Tulane for their only loss of the season, coach Shug Jordan burned the jerseys. Orange jerseys were worn once more in 1979 and again in 1980, then never more.


Blue jersey with white uniform number and white/orange sleeve stripes. Uniform number 34 honors Bo Jackson, 1985 Heisman Trophy winner. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

The 1983 Tigers went 11-1, 6-0 SEC, and finished the season ranked third nationally by both AP and UPI, although after the fact they were crowned national champs by the NY Times, mathematician David Rothman and the College Football Researchers Association. The 1983 squad was coached by Pat Dye and won the Sugar Bowl over Michigan 9-7. Six of the 11 games in 1983 were true home games (played in Auburn), quite remarkable for Auburn which prior to 1957 had never played more than three true home games in a season.

This painting honors #34 Bo Jackson who was a man among boys, a Heisman Trophy winner in 1985 and thanks to Nike, a cultural icon in the 80’s and early 90’s. Jackson scored 43 rushing and 2 receiving TD’s in his Auburn career. He was All-American 1983 and 1985 - he missed half the 1984 season due to injury.

UP Rank
AP Rank Team
1 1 Miami
2 2 Nebraska
3 3 Auburn
4 4 Georgia
5 5 Texas
6 6 Florida
7 7 BYU
9 8 Michigan
8 9 Ohio State
10 10 Illinois
On Probation 11 Clemson
11 12 SMU
15 13 Air Force
14 14 Iowa
12 15 Alabama
16 16 West Virginia
13 17 UCLA
19 18 Pittsburgh
20 19 Boston College
20 East Carolina
17 Penn State
18 Oklahoma State


White jersey with blue uniform number and blue/orange sleeve stripes. Uniform number 74 honors Wayne Gandy. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

The 1993 team went 11-0 (8-0 SEC) for the first time and was ranked 4th nationally by AP but did not play in a bowl game due to a rules violation. Seven of the team’s 11 games were true home games played in Auburn.

Uniform #74 honors 1993 All-American Wayne Gandy, an NFL 1st round draft pick who went on to a 16 year NFL career. 1993 was Terry Bowden’s 1st year as coach and in 1994 the team went 9-0 before tying, then losing, in their last 2 games. In so doing Bowden made NCAA history by becoming the 1st coach to win 20 straight Division 1A games to open his career.

USA Today / CNN Rank
AP Rank Team
1 1 Florida State
2 2 Notre Dame
3 3 Nebraska
On Probation 4 Auburn
4 5 Florida
5 6 Wisconsin
6 7 West Virginia
7 8 Penn State
8 9 Texas A&M
9 10 Arizona
10 11 Ohio State
11 12 Tennessee
12 13 Boston College
13 14 Alabama
15 15 Miami
16 16 Colorado
14 17 Oklahoma
17 18 UCLA
21 19 North Carolina
18 20 Kansas State


Blue jersey with white uniform number and orange drop shadow, while/orange sleeve stripes. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

This 1997 jersey features an unusual drop shadow numbering style and honors #55 Takeo Spikes. Spikes left school after his junior year in 1997 to enter the NFL draft, and went on to a highly successful NFL career lasting more than a decade. The 1997 Tigers also had a successful 1997 campaign under 5th and final year coach Terry Bowden. The squad finished 10 and 3, including a one point loss to Tennessee in the SEC Championship game and a thrilling win over Clemson in the Peach Bowl.

USA Today / ESPN Rank
AP Rank Team
2 1 Michigan
1 2 Nebraska
3 3 Florida State
6 4 Florida
5 5 UCLA
4 6 North Carolina
8 7 Tennessee
7 8 Kansas State
9 9 Washington State
10 10 Georgia
11 11 Auburn
12 12 Ohio State
13 13 LSU
14 14 Arizona State
15 15 Purdue
17 16 Penn State
16 17 Colorado State
18 18 Washington
19 19 Southern Mississippi
21 20 Texas A&M


Blue jersey with white uniform number and while/orange sleeve stripes. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

This painting honors another undefeated Auburn powerhouse - the 2004 Tigers went 13-0 in 2004 (8-0 in SEC). The team was coached by Tommy Tuberville and was ranked 2nd in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today season ending polls. The Tigers beat 9th ranked Virginia Tech 16-13 in the Sugar Bowl.

The 2004 team was led by #17, QB Jason Campbell, who was later drafted in the 1st round by the Redskins. In 2004, Campbell was First-team All-SEC, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, 5 times SEC Offensive Player of the Week, SEC Championship Game MVP and Sugar Bowl MVP.

USA Today / ESPN Rank
AP Rank Team
1 1 USC
2 2 Auburn
3 3 Oklahoma
5 4 Utah
4 5 Texas
7 6 Louisville
6 7 Georgia
8 8 Iowa
9 9 California
10 10 Virginia Tech
11 11 Miami
13 12 Boise State
15 13 Tennessee
12 14 Michigan
14 15 Florida State
16 16 LSU
18 17 Wisconsin
17 18 Texas Tech
20 19 Arizona State
19 20 Ohio State


White jersey with blue uniform number and blue/orange sleeve stripes. Uniform number 94 honors Sen’Derrick Marks. White helmet with orange and blue stripes.

Uniform number 94 honors Sen’Derrick Marks, a junior defensive end in 2008. After red-shirting the 2005 season, he saw plenty of action in 2006-2009 and was a second round 2009 NFL draft choice. He won various college football accolades and was a valued member of the Auburn team.

Auburn, coached by 10th year man Tommy Tuberville, began the 2008 campaign ranked 10th by AP and 11th by USA Today/ESPN, but their 5-7 record for the 2008 season marked their first losing season since coach T’s first season in 1999. 2008 marked the first time since 1999 that the Tigers failed to qualify for a bowl game.

Celebrate Auburn's uniform history by owning a piece of history:

If you love Auburn University and the history of Auburn Tigers football, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 15 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 15 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.

These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)

If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Auburn Tigers YouTube video at or go directly to the artwork website where you can see and purchase the artwork.

And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel

This blog was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 20, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at !


  1. The entry for 1969 completely muddles Auburn's record. Auburn did not start the year 9-0 and drop the last two games. The Tigers lost their second game of the season to Tennessee and had a mid-season loss to LSU. They finished the ten-game regular season with wins over Georgia and Alabama but lost to Houston in the Bluebonnet Bowl to go 8-3.

    1. Many thanks for taking the time to write. I think I confused you somewhere - I wrote about the 1971 team (not 1969) winning their first nine games before dropping their last two games.
      Thanks! Scott

  2. The 1957 entry is incorrect about the number of shut-outs, stating that "all but six" of AU's wins were shut-outs. AU in fact shut out six of ten opponents.

    1. Great pickup - I have now re-written that sentence to make it clear.
      Many thanks for taking the time - Scott


Thank you for taking the time to add a comment - all input is welcome, especially the constructive kind! All the best - Scott