George Tirebiter

George Tirebiter was originally a scraggly, mixed-breed dog who became student mascot at the University of Southern California in the 1940s. One version of his legend says that George wandered onto the university campus after his owner died. Others recall a USC student rescued the sickly, stray dog from a beach in Santa Monica in 1946 and brought him to campus. All agree that he was dubbed "Tirebiter" for his habit of racing alongside passing cars and bicycles while snapping furiously at their tires.

In 1947 the USC student body made George their mascot. He led the Trojan band onto the field for each home football game often costumed in a sweater and sometimes wearing odd little hats. Tirebiter posed with homecoming queens and at least once drew cheers from the students as he rode in a parade car in the Coliseum. At home football games George Tirebiter is remembered for once biting the mask nose of the rival UCLA's Joe Bruin mascot (a person dressed in a bear costume).

The original canine George Tirebiter was run over and killed in 1950 by the very tires he wished to bite (a lesson for us all) and USC's newspaper, the Daily Trojan, allegedly wrote -

Gone to heaven
where he will have cushion rides for breakfast,
white sidewalls for lunch,
and cold rubber recaps for dinner.

George Tirebiter I was succeeded by George II for three years (1950-52), George III during 1953 and finally George IV in 1957. USC's campus bookstore still sells a stuffed version of "George Tirebiter" but the Trojans switched animal mascots to a less interesting horse named "Traveler" in 1961.

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