I was today years old when I learned a bit is an eighth of a dollar.
Edmondson, who’s better known as Mr. Two Bits in Gainesville, earned his nickname by inventing a cheer that counts by twos and adds up to–you guessed it, a dollar–in support of the University of Florida.
The cheer has become a staple of the Florida game day experience.
History of Florida’s “Mr. Two Bits” Chant
George Edmondson Jr. had more of a connection to the team on the other sideline than the Gators when he attended his first football game in 1949. Florida was squaring off against the Citadel, where Edmondson went for two years before serving as a pilot in World War II.
He moved to Tampa after returning from the war to work in the insurance business, and a friend gave him a ticket to watch his former school. The Gators were going through a bit of a rough stretch at the time. Their poor performance sparked Florida fans to boo players and coaches before the game even kicked off.
Edmondson took it upon himself to boost morale. He came up with a chant about adding up bits.
“Two Bits! Four Bits! Six Bits! A Dollar! All for the Gators, stand up and holler!”Advertisement
Florida put an end to their losing streak and Edmondson’s cheer became a hit. He bought season tickets for the 1950 season and started to wander around Florida Field to lead the cheer. By the late 1970s, it was so popular the university invited him to lead the entire stadium in the cheer with his signature “2-Bit” sign before the game.
Edmondson’s cheer wasn’t the only thing that made him stand out. His outfit was on point, too. Edmondson sported a long yellow dress shirt, a striped orange and blue tie, white-and-blue slacks and black-and-white saddle shoes.
Mr. Two Bits, who was made a Florida honorary alumnus in 2005, led the cheer before home games until he retired for good in 2008 at the age of 86. He passed away in July 2019. However, the cheer lives on.
The Two Bits Cheer Today
No one can match Edmondson’s enthusiasm, but the university has kept his spirit alive by welcoming an honorary Mr. Two Bits lead the chant before games.
Honorary Mr. Two Bits are usually former Florida Gators football players or prominent athletes with UF ties. A current Florida student also leads the festivities once a year. Notable past honorary Mr. Two Bits include Steve Spurrier, Heisman trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, Cris Collinsworth, Caeleb Dressel, Laura Rutledge, Jack Youngblood, Percy Harvin and Bradley Beal, among others.
Being Mr. Two Bits on a game day at The Swamp isn’t something taken lightly. The celebrity cheerleader dresses up in Edmondson’s iconic outfit while emulating his mannerisms as best they can. Albert the Alligator has even donned the look a few times.
George Edmondson’s desire to lift spirits turned into an essential Florida tradition. He was the epitome of what it means to be a college football fan.