LSU and the civil war
Turns out the LSU Tigers were not named for the large cat.
The Tigers were just a small subset of the 12,000 Louisiana soldiers in Virginia in 1861. Most were decent, God-fearing men who served their state honorably. But there were enough criminals and drunkards mixed in to give the entire state’s contribution a bad reputation. The good were lumped together with the bad, and because Wheat’s Tiger Battalion was the most infamous, all became known as the Louisiana Tigers.
The Tigers’ name lives on today. Contrary to popular belief, the Louisiana State University Tigers are not named for a ferocious feline but for Louisiana’s most famous Civil War soldiers. In the early 1900s, Dr. Charles E. Coates of Louisiana State University was trying to decide on a name for the football team. When he was told that the Louisiana Tigers were the toughest set of men who ever lived, he chose them as his mascot.
The whole article is worth a read. Their story needs to be a movie.