Florida State Seminoles

Florida State Seminoles Football History

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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 florida state football historystudent 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 game.

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 and preferences.

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 they admire.

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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