Confessions of a Lion Snatcher


Confessions of a Lion Snatcher

by Bob Andrews '67

In the spring semester of 1964, my friends and I noticed a concrete lion sitting on a ledge outside the gymnasium at Tennessee Temple University. It seemed to us that someone had snatched it from some yard in Chattanooga and placed it there as a prank. Since Tennessee Temple was known as the Crusaders and Bryan College was known as the Lions, my friends and I decided to relocate that lion to Bryan College.

We were all freshmen, and therefore, we were not allowed to have automobiles on campus, but I had a friend visiting from Michigan in his 1963 Chevy Impala Super Sport. We left Bryan in the middle of the night having snuck out of the dorms, drove to Chattanooga, popped that 400-pound concrete lion in the trunk, and drove back to campus.

One rule of thumb to note whenever pulling off a prank is that someone is always watching. Even at 4 a.m., a student at Tennessee Temple got our license number; since it was a Michigan tag, it was easy for the Dean of Students to catch us. The president wanted to expel all four of us, but the Dean of Students, bless his heart, talked him out of that punishment. We were instructed to go to Tennessee Temple and speak with the Dean there to confess and ask forgiveness. However, we decided to talk them into making that lion a trophy to be awarded to the winner of the Bryan College/Tennessee Temple basketball game every year. He bought the idea! We did it, and that year Bryan won the basketball game.

We kept the lion on a planter ledge in the Lion’s Den, which at that time was in the basement of the Administration building (now Mercer Hall). Within two weeks, some enterprising students from Tennessee Temple broke into the Lion’s Den through the window, left money on the ledge for the window, and carried the concrete lion out through the upstairs entrance past the sleeping night watchman.

Later that year, we decided to go get the lion again. This time, we did it on a Saturday afternoon in broad daylight. I’ll never forget the look on the face of some poor female freshman student who was licking an ice cream cone as she crossed the street and watched us load that lion back in that same car. This time we didn’t take any chances; we got away with it. When we returned to Dayton, we buried the lion in Chickamauga Lake because the water had receded, and we knew that it would not be found. Little did we know that all of our landmarks for the location of the lion would be bulldozed that summer. But that’s a story for another time.