Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty! An Ole Miss gameday in the Grove is upon us.
The women will be beautiful in red and blue head to toe, the men will be dapper in their blazers and bow ties, the tents will be luxurious, the tailgating food will make mouths water, and the Rebels will cause Ole Miss students, faculty and fans to go wild.
On this particular Saturday, College GameDay is gracing the Grove, and the Walk of Champions will be packed with fans and foes making their way toward the stadium. Of course, when Rebel Nation is supporting their team, the “Hotty Toddy” chant must be shouted and heard by all.
But what started the historic chant?
As with every good mystery, many rumors are told and believed to be true. In the past, Ole Miss fans and students may have said “Heighty Teighty” to cheer on their team and lead them to victory or to greet each other when they recognized their mutual love for the Ole Miss Rebels. According to AL.com and writer Cheryl Wray, the famous chant was first noted in the school’s newspaper in 1926 written as “Heighty Tighty” with different wording but ultimately the same rhythmic cheer. Along with this derivation, Wray also mentioned an alcoholic drink called the “Hot Toddy” and describes the student body as people that would appreciate a chant referencing a drink enjoyed by all.
“As an EDHE 105 instructor, we actually review several different possibilities as to where the ‘Hotty Toddy’ cheer might have originated in one of our chapters based on history and traditions,” said Jenna Artz, academic advisor and EDHE 105 professor. “Chapter 13, in The Ole Miss Experience textbook, notes three probable ways that ‘Hotty Toddy’ began. Number one, an Ole Miss music professor named Arleen Tye wrote a spirited song in 1931 with similar lines; number two, an Ole Miss historian named Gerald W. Walton proposed there might be a potential connection to a WWII cheer and number three, Virginia Tech’s Regimental Band—called the Highty-Tighties in 1919— cheered a chant to be extremely similar— quite possibly the most logical linking to our ‘Hotty Toddy.’”
“Hotty Toddy” is recognized by those affiliated with Ole Miss as a greeting that shows allegiance and affection to the school, the team and the overall experience that sums up the spirit of Ole Miss.
“I think we like the fact that it is tradition; ‘Hotty Toddy’ is not a new thing that somebody came up with a year ago. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles all went to Ole Miss, and they’ve been saying ‘Hotty Toddy’ since they were in school. It’s just a way to associate with the school,” said Blair Jackson, an integrated marketing communications graduate student.
The Hotty Toddy cheer has come to represent more than a rallying cry for the flagship university. It can now unite people who have graduated or just support Ole Miss from afar, Artz said.
“When you see someone while you’re out of town with an Ole Miss t-shirt on, you can’t help but say ‘Hotty Toddy.’ You instantly have something in common with a stranger,” Artz said. “It’s reasons like this as to why I think the ‘Hotty Toddy’ cheer has been kept alive throughout the years.”
“Heighty Teighty” turned into “Hotty Toddy,” and isn’t just a greeting anymore or a cheer related to some kind of drink — it is a chant that brings people together.
“Well, when I think of ‘Hotty Toddy,’ I think that ‘Hotty Toddy’ means respect,” said Terrius Harris, a sophomore marketing and corporate relations, international relations and French triple major. “So, every time I yell ‘Hotty Toddy,’ it’s like you are instantly becoming a part of my family. You’re becoming a part of the Ole Miss family.”
Artz also said the chant was a unifying factor for the university.
“To me, saying or cheering ‘Hotty Toddy’ means I am a member of the Ole Miss family,” Artz said. “‘Hotty Toddy’ brings forth a sense of community. We are all united with one common goal — having the utmost spirit for our institution. This cheer gets our hearts racing and sends our energy through the roof.”
Not only does “Hotty Toddy” allow people to come together as a family, but it is also a ubiquitous symbol of Ole Miss.
“I think that it’s important because it’s ours, and it’s unique,” former Dean of Students Sparky Reardon said. “It’s much more cerebral than ringing a cowbell or saying something inane like ‘Roll Tide,’ ‘War Eagle’ or ‘Sooie Pig.’”
To others not associated with Ole Miss, the beloved “Hotty Toddy” chant may seem strange, but for a true Rebel, it is said with pride, valuing what it means to be a part of the Ole Miss tradition.
“It is like a secret language,” said Chris Covey, who has a new, revamped “Hotty Toddy” song available on iTunes. “It gets everybody pumped up, and every time someone asks ‘Are You Ready?’ everybody that loves Ole Miss is going to respond with the cheer.”
“It is student led, student perpetuated, and it brings the community together as one,” said Brandi Hephner LeBanc, vice chancellor of student affairs.
Ole Miss fans have a deep appreciation for their Rebels, and when asked, “Are You Ready?” everyone will know what Rebel Nation is, and what it means to be part of this family.