For the love of Phil Neel!

Anyone who grew up in Alabama, or the Southeast, during the 1960’s or later most likely has seen some sort or Phil Neel art associated with sports. Neel, who is credited with creating Auburn University’s mascot “Aubie”, created loads of artwork for Auburn football program covers during the 60’s & 70’s, as well as several other schools. My first exposure to Neel’s work came during the early 1970’s when I would see my Uncle Don’s game program from the game he and my Aunt Gail had attended on a recent weekend. I also saw them at my high school, when the football team would receive one of Neel’s prints chronicling the football season. I was enamored with this art work and always liked it. I even had one of Neel’s Alabama posters in my room during the 1970’s. Neel created artwork for the Birmingham Americans, with two posters celebrating the Ams (at least these are the only 2 that I’m aware of). These were fantastic, but in 1975 the Vulcans got in on the Phil Neel cover-work-on-on-the-program trend. They were super. Neel’s work was re-used for the Vulcans games against Memphis & Chicago, as well as games against Charlotte & Portland. The games against Southern California, Shreveport, & San Antonio all got their own “Phil Neel treatment”. Even a Vulcans schedule poster got in on the act. It was awesome. While I have always loved Neel’s work, I never really grew to appreciate it until my adulthood, while accumulating some of these fantastic artifacts. These are true gems, as was Neel, who passed away in 2012.

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