ALBERT & ALBERTA
In 1908, Gainesville native Austin Miller was enrolled in Law School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While his father was visiting, he went to purchase pennants to sell at his store in Gainesville. While looking at other schools’ mascots, he came to the conclusion that a native alligator was a good fit for the school. The owner having never seen an alligator relied on photo for the first rendering.
The first live alligator, Albert, came to UF in 1957. Several different live alligators assumed the role of Albert over the years, and even a robotic, motorized reptile held the role. It wasn’t until 1970 that Albert became personified on the field as a full-body vinyl costume. Alberta the Alligator was introduced in 1986 as Albert’s sidekick and friend. Having your picture taken with Albert and Alberta is one of UF’s top traditions.
MR. TWO BITS
The story of George Edmondson (Mr. Two Bits) and the Florida Gators goes back over 60 years.
The Two Bits tradition began spontaneously in 1949, when Edmondson was attending the opening game of Florida’s football season against The Citadel. The Gators had lost five of their last six games the previous year and were not expected to do any better. When the fans booed the players and the coach even before the opening kickoff, Edmondson decided to boost their morale by leading them in a cheer about adding up bits (a “bit” is an eighth of a dollar, so eight of them would indeed total one dollar). The Gators won the game, and fans were so enthusiastic about Edmondson’s cheer that he returned the next Saturday to lead it again. This tradition continues even after Edmondson’s retirement in 2008. Now, Albert and many select “celebrity” figures lead the chant while dressed in Edmondson’s traditional blue pants, yellow shirt and orange and blue tie.
Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, a Dollar; All for the Gators, stand up and holler!
THE PRIDE OF THE SUNSHINE: THE GATOR BAND
The University of Florida Fightin’ Gator Marching Band, also known as The Pride of the Sunshine, is the official marching band for the University of Florida. They play at every Florida Gators home football game in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and also perform at various other events such as pep rallies, parades, and the annual Orange and Blue Spring Scrimmage game.
The student section of the stadium has been dubbed the “Rowdy Reptiles.” ESPN commentator Dick Vitale, on assignment at the Florida-Kentucky game in 2006, said that the Rowdy Reptiles make the O’Dome one of the toughest places to play in college basketball. This student group has a strong presence at all UF sporting events.
The Dazzlers are the official dance team of the Florida Gators and serve as representatives for the university at various athletic and community events. In addition to performances and appearances at football games, volleyball matches, gymnastics meets, soccer games, and home baseball weekend series, the Dazzlers perform at all men’s and women’s basketball games.