The tale of the Auburn Tigertail Team

Published 4:04 pm Monday, September 19, 2011

The Tiger Tail Van made a stop at A.C. Legg before heading to Auburn. From left: Jeffrey Purvis, Michael Sumners, Jason Herbert and Reese Herbert. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Some football fans say nature proves God goes for Auburn — orange sun, blue sky. I’m not sure about that theory, but I’m certain Jeffrey Purvis, performance management analyst at A.C. Legg Inc., is a big Auburn fan.

Purvis and friends Jason Herbert and Michael Sumners are the new owners of the Tigertail Van, a customized van with a 10-foot tail that has traveled more than 297,000 miles of asphalt to Auburn games since the early ’90s.

Herbert has not missed a game since 2003.

“In 2005, I needed a ride to Arkansas and negotiated a ride with Lee Snyder who originally owned the van,” he said. “During the game someone set fire to the tail.”

This wasn’t the first time the van suffered loss of its tail. The first time was at LSU in 2003. Two years later Sumners rode with them to Fayetteville.

“The people there were great,” he said. “They had heard about the van and actually collected money to help repair the tail.”

In May of this year Snyder contacted Herbert’ to ask if he would be interested in taking over the Tigertail Van. She now has a new home and new owners who are looking to expand the tradition associated with the Tigertail Team. The van will transport friends and others to the game.

“We’ll be running some contests for rides, but there’s some serious interior work that needs to be done first,” Purvis said.

Tim Nash of the Caddy Shack in Montevallo got her roadworthy.

“Without Tim, we couldn’t have made it to the first game,” Purvis said. “He has used his own time and money to put us on the road. This is a hobby for us, and it’s people like Tim that allow us to do this.”

They also thanked Trey Johnston of J & M Bookstore in Auburn and Mark Murphy of Inside the Auburn Tigers for their support. Purvis said there’s nothing like going on the road with two of your best friends.

“Jason and I graduated together from Hoover High School, the three of us played flag football in 2005. We’re in our early 30s, so we’ll be making memories for awhile. Don’t be surprised if you see her driving around Birmingham or show up at non-football events.”

If blue and orange are your team colors, keep up with the Tigertail Team adventures at If you’re on Facebook, “like” their community page and you’ll get posts concerning game day locations, contests and other happenings.

Happy tails to you guys! War Eagle!

Mollie Brown can be reached at