November 1, 2023
In the World

Tiger Up

Long a Rallying Cry at Wittenberg, the Phrase Now Trademarked by University

In the world of sports, there are Tigers of many stripes, including hundreds of high school and intercollegiate athletics programs across the United States and teams around the globe, competing in everything from Australian rules football to rugby to cricket to basketball and beyond.

While there are Tigers in competition everywhere, there is only one place where the phrase “Tiger Up” has been used with a special and unique meaning. At Wittenberg University, those two words paired together have served as a rallying cry to inspire and encourage generations of student-athletes to step up their game, raise their standard of play, and discover what they are truly capable of achieving.

And now, that rallying cry is officially the property of Wittenberg University. Originally coined by Hall of Fame coach and athletics department administrator Dave Maurer in the 1960s, Tiger Up was recently designated with a Federal Trademark Register by Wittenberg University.

Tiger Up is Wittenberg’s battle cry, and that’s why we chose to pursue this trademark. The phrase has a long history of use by members of the Wittenberg family, including alumni, students, fans, and others across the campus community, and it carries great meaning and pride. History has it that Coach Maurer used this phrase to motivate, challenge, and inspire his student-athletes. Since then, it’s gained popularity, and it has become a very meaningful term to so many of us.
Brian Agler ’80, Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation

Interestingly, Wittenberg’s first intercollegiate athletics teams were not known as the Tigers, nor were the official colors Red & White. From the 1890s through the 1940s, Wittenberg’s teams were unofficially known as the Fighting Lutherans or were referenced by their preferred uniform colors, Crimson & Cream.

The first reference to Tigers in connection with Wittenberg’s intercollegiate teams occurred in 1921 when a newspaper headline referred to the football team as the “Tigers of the West.” In 1946, art student John Norris created a cartoon for the Torch, Wittenberg’s student newspaper, that depicted the life and times of Atom, the “atomic tiger,” who represented school spirit and the tenacity of the University’s teams and student-athletes.

Within a decade, the Tiger mascot began appearing on the sidelines during games and even popping up at other campus events, and its name was changed to Ezry in honor of Wittenberg’s founder and first President Ezra Keller. Perhaps coincidentally – or not – Wittenberg’s intercollegiate teams arrived on the national scene around that time, winning the first NCAA championships in school history in 1961 (men’s basketball) and 1962 (football).

Since then, Wittenberg has been home to one of the most successful small college athletics programs in the country. Tiger teams have won nine team national championships across four different sports, and three individual student-athletes have claimed NCAA titles as well. Wittenberg student-athletes have earned more than 500 All-America awards, and Tiger teams have won more than 200 league championships.

Winning Tradition
Wittenberg University has a long and storied tradition of athletics excellence, with hundreds of individual All-Americans and nine NCAA championships. Now boasting 26 intercollegiate teams, Wittenberg offers a wide range of student-athlete opportunities.
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Ryan Maurer
Ryan Maurer
Associate Director of Athletics for Communications, Web Strategy & Content

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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