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SEC Program Introduced A Brand New Official Mascot Today

Ole Miss' new Landshark mascot Tony leads the team through a tunnel.

Last fall, Ole Miss announced that it would officially change its mascot from Rebel the Black Bear to a Landshark. The football program had been using the unofficial nickname for about a decade.

The school's teams are still called the "Rebels." The school retired the controversial Colonel Reb back in 2003, though.

Rebel the Black Bear was adopted in 2010, but never fully embraced by the university community. In September, Ole Miss students voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Landshark as the official school mascot, with 81-percent of the 4,100 votes cast going in favor of the move.

Today, Tony the Ole Miss Landshark was officially unveiled.

He is...quite something.

Ole Miss fans had the chance to meet Tony for the first time this afternoon.

The landshark is appropriately named after former Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein, who popularized the shark fin gesture that has been used by the program's defense ever since. He also wears Fein's No. 47.

In a 2008 game against Florida, Fein made a crucial stop on superstar quarterback Tim Tebow, and then tossed up the gesture for the first time. It caught on from there.

More, from Ole Miss:

The spirit of the Landshark dates back to 2008, when Ole Miss won the Cotton Bowl after four straight losing seasons. In a moment of celebration that season, senior linebacker and Iraq War veteran Tony Fein made the legendary ‘Fins Up’ gesture after a game-changing play. The rest, of course, is history. Coaches, players and fans alike all rallied behind Fein’s emotional gesture, galvanizing the Landshark both on and off the football field. Even after Fein tragically passed away in 2009, the Ole Miss community continued to honor him and his Landshark spirit, the spirit of a war veteran who was ravenous for victory and fiercely loyal to his team.

Not everyone online has been a huge fan, but give Ole Miss credit for being unique. The school now has the only shark as a primary mascot on the FBS level.