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Oct 21, 2018


By: John Seketa

Note: The following appears in the NC State gameday football program

Visionaries are those individuals who can see the future. In 1934, nine Clemson men came together to form IPTAY, the “grandfather” of intercollegiate athletic fundraising.

Almost 60 years later, a group of athletic department employees had the vision to begin a Tiger Cub Club. The club would focus on getting young Tiger fans (under the age of 18) involved in IPTAY. The club would have their own mascot, The Tiger Cub.

This younger-looking mascot (Jay Williams, the original Tiger Cub), with his oversized shoes and purple overalls, first joined his uncle, The Tiger, on the sideline of Death Valley when Clemson hosted Georgia Tech in 1993, a 16-13 Tiger victory.

A mere 25 years later, Clemson students still try out each spring to be The Tiger Cub. Their identity is not known until they cross the stage at graduation, wearing either the oversized shoes or mascot gloves.

Why would anyone want to wear a wool suit in 90-degree heat? What are the rewards? Each student gives the same response…it is about giving back to Clemson. The rewards are the smiles on those young children’s faces who are afraid of The Tiger, until that special day during their third or fourth year when they begin to pull the tail of The Tiger. Their fear is gone. Their initiation period of being a Tiger Cub is over.

Mission accomplished for those visionaries in 1993 and for each Tiger Cub since.

Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.