Aubie oversees Phil’s work

Phil Neel, the former Birmingham Post-Herald artist who created Aubie in 1957 for Auburn media guide and program covers, passed away last month at the age of 84 from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. His three children — Mike, Rick and Cindy — all graduated from Auburn, and his sons played for the Tigers in the 1970s.

First appearing on the 1957 Auburn media guide, the Aubie cartoon became a rallying point for the Auburn family as the Tigers won the first nine games the cartoon appeared on program covers, capturing the 1957 National Championship in the process.

Aubie gives Cousin Clem a dynamite welcome to Cliff Hare Stadium in 1961

Aubie graced home programs from 1957-1976, a stretch that saw Shug Jordan’s teams go 63-16-2 with the cartoon fighting off rivals on the front cover. He made a return appearance for Auburn’s last “home” game against Alabama at Legion Field in Birmingham in 1991.

The cartoon spawned the popular Aubie mascot that has roamed Auburn’s sidelines for decades.

Neel even lent his services to Clemson after “Cousin Clem” was featured on many Auburn-Clemson program covers in the 1960s-70s.

The good folks at The War Eagle Reader — an Auburn blog if you couldn’t guess — have chronicled much of Neel’s Aubie work.

Wish we could have gotten one more out of him this week. Thank you, Phil, and War Eagle.

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