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Axe 'em, Jacks

SFA students cheering

Traditions & Spirit

You can read more about these and other traditions in the Centennial issue of Sawdust Magazine.

Lumberjacks are all about tradition

When you become a Lumberjack, you become part of a cherished tradition that goes back a century.

All the activities and symbols that help us show spirit, from our axe-wielding Lumberjack mascot to the hand sign you may have seen at our athletic events, make being part of the SFA family more fun. And each of these traditions has its own history — histories you’ll find on this page.

So take a moment to get to know our stories and traditions. Before long, you’ll be at our games signaling "Axe 'em, Jacks!" with the rest of us.

The birth of a Lumberjack

Shortly after SFA was founded in 1923, university leaders invited students and faculty members to suggest names for the university’s newly organized athletic teams — names that made it clear that SFA was going to be a formidable opponent.

During a special assembly, attendees presented their suggestions and even led yells to demonstrate their cases. In the end, the Lumberjacks won by popular vote. Today, it's hard to imagine a more fitting mascot to represent our university or the beautifully wooded Nacogdoches community.

Lumberjack fierce

Whether he's at a community event or in the national spotlight, our Lumberjack has a way of demanding respect. In 2014, ESPN included him in the "Top 10 mascots in college basketball."

ESPN gave another nod to the SFA Lumberjack during March Madness 2016, when the sports network declared him "The mascot you'd want on your side if you got into a fight."

Show your spirit

One of the most visible ways to show your Lumberjack spirit is our "Axe 'em, Jacks" hand sign. When the hand signal made its first appearance during a pep rally in fall 1979, it was instantly embraced by the student body. Since then, it has become the definitive symbol of SFA pride to generations of Lumberjacks.

So what is the proper hand signal technique? You form the axe with your thumb and first two fingers. When you signal with both hands side by side, by the way, you form an "L" and a "J." The hand signal roughly forms the shape of Texas with the pinky finger pointing toward Nacogdoches.

A wealth of athletic traditions

Axe handles. Purple Haze. Jacks Charge.

Our unique traditions are part of the full SFA experience, and we welcome all Lumberjacks — from first-year and transfer student to parents, alumni and faculty — to join us as we cheer our teams on to victory. Check out our athletic traditions page to learn more about the traditions that make the SFA experience so unique.