The red-tailed hawk symbolizes the courage, speed, power and vision for athletes and all students to aspire to.
- Chancellor Emeritus Joseph Oxendine
The Tommy Statue was in place for just four days when its legend took hold at UNCP. Senior basketball player Chavis Rachel was photographed by a passing Fayetteville Observer photographer climbing the rock to touch the hawk for luck before the Homecoming game on Feb. 13, 1999. With the Braves down by two points, Rachel made a desperation three-point attempt that – perhaps guided by an unseen hand -- found nothing but net to win the game. Rachel's visit with the hawk was not revealed until the following Thursday when the photograph was published by the newspaper.
The life-size bronze statue of the University's mascot, a gift from the Class of 1999, is located in front of the James B. Chavis University Center.
The bronze statue is 22-inches tall with a 57-inch wingspan and weighs 150 pounds. It sits on a pedestal of raw granite, weighing close to 16 tons and stands over nine-feet tall.
Retired Art professor Paul Van Zandt completed the project in 16 weeks. It was crafted after close observations of a red-tailed hawk, which is indigenous to Robeson County.
Rub the rock for good luck!
Hawk on the Tommy Statue