The University of Memphis sideline mascot TOM III passed away Friday, just three weeks from his twelfth birthday. TOM III, the third tiger mascot since 1972, was gifted to the University by the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, and made his debut for Memphis in 2008 in a game against UCF.

 

"We are heartbroken with the passing of TOM III. I will never forget his presence at home games and all the smiling faces he brought to so many people. I know TOM III received phenomenal care, and I want to thank everyone, especially Scott Forman." said University of Memphis Athletic Director, Laird Veatch.

Scott Forman, otherwise known as "The Tiger Guy", was TOM's main caretaker and developed a special bond with him.

"When TOM was a baby, I spent a significant amount of time with him everyday the first couple of years, building that bond that we have together," said Forman in an interview about TOM III in 2019.  Forman was the main caretaker for all of TOM's tenure at Memphis.

The final game TOM attended was the 2019 American Athletic Conference Championship where the Tigers beat Cincinnati 29-24. TOM III attended 73 games over the course of 11 years.  In a tweet from Scott Forman, he describes the rapidly progressing illness that TOM contracted which led to his eventual passing.  Although multiple treatments were given, TOM never responded to any of them positively, and was eventually euthanized at his compound.  He is being taken to the Memphis Zoo for an autopsy.

The University announced with the passing of TOM III that the tradition will be ending with him.  In place of memorials, the University is asking for donations here that will go to supporting Tiger Football in TOM's memory.

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