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The Memphis Tigers represent the University of Memphis in Division I of the NCAA. They are members of the American Athletic Conference. The rifle team is a member of the single-sport Great America Rifle Conference. When the Memphis State University first fielded a football team in the fall of 1912, no one had selected a nickname for the squad. Early references to the football team tabbed them only as the Blue and Gray Warriors.
After the final game of the 1914 season, there was a student parade. During this event, several University students shouted, "We fight like Tigers!" The nickname was born. As time passed, the nickname "Tigers" was increasingly used, particularly in campus publications, but did not catch on with the newspapers downtown. They continued to use "the Blue and Gray" when referring to the University. Under Coach Lester Barnard in 1922, Memphis's football team gave a ring of truth to that old student yell about Tigers. The team adopted a motto - "Every Man a Tiger" - and went on to score 174 points while allowing its opponents just 29 points. The Tiger nickname continued on with students and alumni, eventually being adopted as the official nickname for the University of Memphis in 1939.
The Tigers continued an era of excellence throughout the 1980s and went to the Final Four in 1985 losing to Villanova, the ultimate winner of the tournament. The 1985 Final Four trip has since been vacated by the NCAA due to several recruiting violations committed by head coach Dana Kirk and his staff.
The Tigers continued an era of excellence throughout the 1980s and went to the Final Four in 1985 losing to Villanova, the ultimate winner of the tournament. The 1985 Final Four trip has since been vacated by the NCAA due to several recruiting violations committed by head coach Dana Kirk and his staff. Success continued through much of the 1990s. Under head coach John Calipari, the Tigers reached the Elite Eight three years in a row (2006–2008) and those same years won the conference championship, going undefeated in conference play in 2007 and 2008. Their record for those three seasons is 106-9.