Growing up in the small town of Port Orchard, Washington, football was everything to Tony Fein, who was the ultimate team player. Playing on both sides of the ball, Fein starred at quarterback and linebacker for South Kitsap High School before making the decision to join the Army after his senior year rather than pursue an opportunity to play football in college. Turns out, there were bigger things in life than football for Fein.
Following graduation from high school, Fein served over three years in the United States Army, including one tour in Iraq. After his discharge, Fein enrolled in Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and became a top junior college prospect.
Just so happens at the time, Ole Miss was looking for a match at linebacker with the departure of Patrick Willis to the league. Enter Tony Fein.
Fein earned two letters playing middle linebacker at Ole Miss, seeing action in 24 games, including seven starts.
In the spring of 2008, Fein received the Pat Tillman Patriot Award by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to exhibit to Americans that some athletes can battle on the gridiron and on the battlefield.
Fein's lasting legacy on Rebel Football goes way beyond his statistics. His Landshark rally cry made a home in the Ole Miss defensive unit during the 2008 season and is still very much alive today. It started in practice that season, when Fein sacked then Rebel quarterback Jevan Sneadduring a drill and quickly threw up the hand sign.
Spurring his defensive peers to smell blood in the water like a shark, Fein's teammates like standouts Jerrell Powe and Peria Jerry adopted the Landshark persona, and the Rebel defense rose up to become one of the nation's best, ranking fourth in the nation against the run in 2008. After four straight losing seasons, Ole Miss returned to prominence with a 9-4 record, and before long, the whole team and fan base were throwing "Fins Up."
"In 2008, Fins Up was born, but after a few years it became part of every sport, every fan, every experience," said Micah Ginn, Associate A.D. for Sports Productions and Creative Services. "It became second only to Hotty Toddy in terms of greetings between Ole Miss folks.
Josh McCoy - Ole Miss Athletics Micah Ginn - Ole Miss Athletics