History of the Green Wave

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 10, 2009

I got a little curious last night as to why a team would name themselves the Green Wave.  Could it have something to do with a Hurricane? Or a Tidal Wave in the history of Louisiana?  I did some digging and came up with some interesting history on Tulane…

Tulane’s earliest athletic traditions are tied to its football team, which began playing in 1893.  In their early beginnings they were known to fans as the Greenies or Greenbacks and officially called The Olive and Blue.  In that first year of football (1893) as a member of the SEC, Tulane beat LSU 34-0 and started a rivalry known as The Battle for the Rag.  The program hit its stride in 1900 with a perfect 5–0 season, beating the Southern Athletic Club, Alabama, Millsaps, LSU, and Ole Miss.  In a 1912 game against Southwestern Louisiana, Tulane set records of 15 rushing touchdowns and 95 points that still stand. In 1925 the Green Wave again went undefeated, with only a tie against Missouri to blemish its record and were invited to play in the Grand Daddy of ‘em All, the Rose Bowl. The administration declined a Rose Bowl invitation, however, in order to keep the students in class.

More on the Rivalry…In 1973, Tulane broke a 25-game losing streak to LSUwith a 14-0 victory in front of a Tulane Stadium record crowd of 86,598.  Tulane then won 3 out of 4 meetings until1982 and have not beat the Tigers since.

So where does the name come in?  In 1920 there was a song published in the Tulane Hullaballo, the school newspaper.  The university’s mascot and nickname, the Green Wave, owes its origins to a song published in the Hullabaloo. The paper’s editor at the time, Earl Sparling, wrote and published a football song called “The Rolling Green Wave” in support of the “Olive and Blue.” Within a month, the Hullabaloo started referring to the university’s teams by the new nickname, a practice that was soon picked up by the daily press.