The first Tiger, TOM, was procured by the Highland Hundred Football Boosters in 1972 and served the U of M faithfully for nearly 20 years until passing away in February of 1992. TOM came to the University on November 9, 1972, when the tiger cub was placed in a dog kennel in Michigan City, Indiana, and put on a Memphis-bound flight via Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He arrived in Memphis at 3 a.m., and C. Cleveland Drennon, President of the Highland Hundred, approved a check for $1,500 to purchase the animal. That morning, TOM was taken to Athletic Director Billy 'Spook' Murphy's office for a press conference. The Highland Hundred officially presented TOM to the University in a ceremony at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on November 11, 1972, during a football game against the University of Cincinnati. TOM had initially been named 'Shane' at the suggestion of the breeder's daughter. Once in Memphis, though, a contest was held to name the mascot. More than 2,500 entries were submitted to a committee chaired by Judge Harry Pierotti, including colorful monikers like Spook, Sampson, Goliath, Bengo, Sultan, Sahib, Big Cat, Ptah, Touchdown, Sonny Shiloh, and even Bengie Wougie Bengal Boy from Tennessee. The list was ultimately reduced to two choices, Shane, and TOM, which stands for Tigers Of Memphis. TOM won. During his first few months in Memphis, TOM was housed by Highland Hundred member Bill Proctor in his garage, which the club had redecorated, and was closely guarded by Proctor's hound dog. TOM would ultimately reside at the Memphis Zoo under the care of trainer Louie Bell, where he was known as one of the zoo's most popular attractions. TOM grew to be the largest Bengal Tiger documented in captivity at that time, weighing over 600 pounds. As TOM grew older, the decision was made by the Highland Hundred to keep the Tiger Tradition alive by securing a new tiger to be raised as TOM II..