Athletics has been an integral part of the college scene at St. Thomas since the institution first opened in 1885. In the first 20 years, intramural baseball teams were quite popular. The Tommies' school colors -- purple and gray -- evolved from the "Blues" and the "Grays," the top intramural baseball teams in the 1890s.
Varsity intercollegiate sports began in 1904, and St. Thomas celebrated 100 years of varsity athletics in 2003-2004. (Varsity football didn't play during World War II in 1943, thus the 2004 season was the 100th season of varsity football).
In 1920, St. Thomas was among seven charter members of the newly-formed Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Five of those institutions have remained in the MIAC throughout that span -- St. Thomas, Hamline, Macalester, Gustavus and St. John's. St. Olaf and Carleton were charter members who left the conference for a spell but returned in 1975 and 1983, respectively. Concordia-Moorhead (1921), Augsburg (1924), St. Mary's (1926) have also been longtime members. Minnesota-Duluth was a member from 1951-75. Bethel has been a member since 1977. St. Benedict and St. Catherine joined the conference in 1982 when the conference started sponsoring women's championships.
St. Thomas has enjoyed long and intense rivalries with Twin Cities neighbors like Macalester, Hamline and Augsburg, as well as outstate institutions St. John's, Gustavus, St. Olaf, Carleton and Concordia-Moorhead.
The St. Thomas mascot, Tommie, has evolved over the years from a friendly tomcat, which was created in the all-male days of the College of St. Thomas. In 2001, a new cat costume was unveiled. St. Thomas students are chosen to wear the costume and participate in a wide variety of on-campus and off-campus events.
St. Thomas students are invited to tryout for the Cheer Squad, Dance Line and Pep Band, which add a festive flavor to campus games and events throughout the school year. Click here to the Campus Life site, the scroll down and click on Spirit Program for more information.
St. Thomas fall traditions include Homecoming and Family Weekend, which include Tommie home athletic competitions as part of the attractions.
Homecoming includes student events throughout the week; a Friday night pep festival; a Saturday morning parade; a pre-game Taste of St. Thomas celebration; and a Saturday night dance.
Among the newer traditions, students, faculty and staff are encourage to wear Purple or Gray attire on "Tommie Tuesdays."