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Florida St. Football
History - Garnet and Gold
Florida State's school colors of garnet and gold are a
merging of the University's past. In 1904 and 1905 the Florida
State College won football championships wearing purple
and gold uniforms. When FSC became Florida State College
for Women in 1905, the football team was forced to attend
an all-male school in Gainesville. The following year, the
FSCW student body selected crimson as the official school
color. The administration in 1905 took crimson and combined
it with the recognizable purple of the championship football
teams to achieve the color garnet. The now-famous garnet
and gold colors were first used on an FSU uniform in a 14-6
loss to Stetson on October 18, 1947.
Chief Osceola and Renegade
Perhaps the most spectacular tradition in all of college
football occurs in Doak Campbell Stadium when a student
portraying the famous Seminole Indian leader, Osceola, charges
down the field riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade
and plants a flaming spear at midfield to begin every home
Bill Durham, a 1965 graduate of FSU, envisioned the idea
of Chief Osceola and Renegade when he was a sophomore on
the Homecoming Committee in 1962.
He didn't get any support for the idea until Bobby Bowden
came to FSU as head coach. In the fall of 1977, Durham's
idea began to materialize.
Durham sought and obtained the approval of the Seminole
Tribe of Florida for the portrayal of Osceola and during
the opening game of 1978 against Oklahoma State, the legend
of Osceola and Renegade began. Since that time Osceola,
in authentic regalia designed by the ladies of the Seminole
Tribe of Florida, and Renegade have opened every home game
with the traditional planting of the spear, appeared in
many major bowl games, and performed on national television
on numerous occasions. Bill Durham and his family supply
the beautiful Appaloosa horses and, with the help of the
Renegade Team volunteers, continue to bring this spectacular
tradition to those who love Florida State University.
Seminoles - Heroic Symbol At Florida State
The history of the Seminole Indians in Florida is the story
of a noble, brave, courageous, strong and determined people
who, against great odds, struggled successfully to preserve
their heritage and live their lives according to their traditions
From its earliest days as a university, Florida State has
proudly identified its athletic teams with these heroic
people because they represent the traits we want our athletes
to have. Other athletic teams are called Patriots or Volunteers
in the same way -- they use a symbol that represents qualities
Recent critics have complained that the use of Indian symbolism
is derogatory. Any symbol can be misused and become derogatory.
This, however, has never been the intention at Florida State.
Over the years, we have worked closely with the Seminole
Tribe of Florida to ensure the dignity and propriety of
the various Seminole symbols we use. Chief Osceola, astride
his appaloosa when he plants a flaming spear on the 50-yard
line, ignites a furious enthusiasm and loyalty in thousands
of football fans, but also salutes a people who have proven
that perseverance with integrity prevails.
Some traditions we cannot control. For instance, in the
early 1980s, when our band, the Marching Chiefs, began the
now-famous arm motion while singing the "war chant,"
who knew that a few years later the gesture would be picked
up by other team's fans and named the "tomahawk chop?"
It's a term we did not choose and officially do not use.
Our university's goal is to be a model community that treats
all cultures with dignity while celebrating diversity.
I have appointed a task force to review our use of Seminole
Indian symbols and traditions. This study group will identify
what might be offensive and determine what needs to be done.
Our good relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
is one we have cultivated carefully and one we hope to maintain,
to the benefit of both the Seminoles of our state and university.
Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James E. Billie expressed
this point in these words: "We are proud to be Seminoles,
and we are proud of the Florida State University Seminoles.
We are all winners."
The War Chant
Florida State's "war chant" might have begun
with a random occurrence that took place during a 1984 contest
with the Auburn Tigers, but most Seminole historians might
remember it to be a tradition that holds over thirty years
in it's evolution. With the popular Seminole cheer of the
1960's, "massacre," led by members of the Marching
Chiefs chanting its melody, so was the first stage of the
current popular Seminole cry. In a sense, "massacre,"
was the long version of FSU's current "war chant".
During a very exciting game with Auburn in 1984, the Marching
Chiefs began to perform the cheer. Some students behind
the band joined in and continued the "war chant"
portion after the band had ceased. The result, which was
not very melodic at the time, sounded more like chants by
American Indians in Western movies. Most say it came from
the fraternity section, but many spirited Seminole fans
added the "chopping" motion, a repetitious bend
at the elbow, to symbolize a tomahawk swinging down.
The chant continued largely among the student body during
the 1985 season, and by the 1986 season was a stadiumwide
activity. Of course, the Marching Chiefs refined the chant,
plus put its own special brand of accompaniment to the "war
chant", and the result exists today.
By the time the Atlanta Braves started with it, the chant
and the arm motion generally were associated with Florida
State's rising football program. The Kansas City Chiefs
first heard it when the Northwest Missouri State band, directed
by 1969 FSU graduate Al Sergel, performed the chant while
the players were warming up for a game against San Diego.
Such a powerful cheer, FSU's "war chant" can be
linked to Atlanta's and Kansas City's resurgence in their
own respective leagues.
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