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SFA traditions bring generations of Lumberjacks together for 100 years

Story by Johanna Gilmore
Classic photos courtesy of the East Texas Research Center

It's a close game. Homer Bryce Stadium is rockin'. The boldest sound from the oldest town launches into the familiar intro of the "SFA Fight Song."

Except now, you no longer have to wait until the drum break to sing along. In spring 2022, the expanded lyrics received an overwhelmingly positive response from many student organizations and groups, including student-athletes, the Student Government Association, the student leader advisory board, AXEperience, the Student Activities Association, the Alumni Association board of directors, Office of Multicultural Affairs ambassadors, and the Lumberjack Marching Band.

The idea to implement expanded fight song lyrics came from T.J. Maple '08 & '21, coordinator of SFA's Cheer and Dance Teams.

"After years of attending numerous sporting events and cheer and dance nationals where other schools were singing to their fight songs, I felt that this could help to unite us as Lumberjacks," he said.

Originally written in the 1970s, the expansion of these lyrics is the latest addition to a long list of beloved traditions celebrated by Lumberjacks everywhere — and which grow nearly every year. We've done our best to recount the development of key past traditions, especially those we continue to cherish today.

Click on the images below to read more about each tradition

Sawyers group photo 1930
Axe Handles
Students cheering in purple haze section
Purple Haze Student Section
Students holding up the Axe 'Em, Jacks hand sign
"Axe 'Em, Jacks!" Hand Sign
Ag pond with purple victory lights shining above Steen Hall
Purple Victory Lights
Student posing with an axe handle
Jack Camp
Students smiling with sign
Students with watermelons
Weeks of Welcome
Pine Burrs, Stone Fort yearbook 1949
Greek Traditions
Students laughing while carrying gardening tools
Giving Back
Alumni ring replica, Stone Fort yearbook 2002
The Big Dip
Alumni sitting at table
Alumni Association

Traditions we miss

When asked what past traditions they'd like to see return, Lumberjacks overwhelmingly responded, "The Battle of the Piney Woods."

Another favorite is the Homecoming Duck Dash featuring toy ducks racing on a specialized course at the Ag Pond. Proceeds from the race helped fund scholarships.

We've noticed some people walking on the SFA seal when they enter the Baker Pattillo Student Center from Vista Drive. As Lacey Folsom, director of SFA's Office of Student Engagement, said, "We always tell students that walking on the seal is as disrespectful as not throwing up the axe 'em sign during the school song."