The War Chant

Florida State’s “war chant” appears to have begun with a random occurrence that took place during a 1984 game against Auburn. In the 1960s, the Marching Chiefs would chant the melody of a popular FSU cheer. In a sense, that chant was the long version of FSU’s current “war chant.” During a thrilling game with Auburn in 1984, the Marching Chiefs began to perform the dormant melody. Some students behind the band joined in and continued the “war chant” portion after the band had ceased.

Most agree the chant came from the fraternity section, but many spirited Seminole fans added the hand motion to symbolize the brandishing of a tomahawk. The chant continued among the student body during the 1985 season, and by the 1986 season, it was a stadium-wide phenomenon. Of course, the Marching Chiefs refined the chant, plus put their own special brand of accompaniment to the “war chant,” for the sound we hear today.

Atlanta Braves fans took up their version of the song and chant when former FSU star Deion Sanders came to the plate as an outfielder. The Kansas City Chiefs first heard it when the Northwest Missouri State band, directed by 1969 FSU graduate Al Sergel, performed the chant while the players were warming up for a game against San Diego.