Mississippi State University Athletic Traditions

Audio Transcription: 
Speaker 1: Mississippi State University has a number of proud athletic traditions. But have you ever wondered where they came from?

Speaker 2: Sit back and relax, and over the next few minutes we'll tell you everything you need to know about how to be a Bulldog.

The values of our university reach as far back as October 6, 1880, when Mississippi Agriculture and Mechanical College opened its doors for the first time to 354 students. The first President, General Stephen D. Lee, and the founding father of our university agreed on the philosophy that students would not only be required to do scholastic work, but be required to work various jobs around A&M college.

A&M college was to be a people's college, a level playing field where each student bore collective responsibility and had the opportunity to succeed. This idea holds true even today, with students from every walk of life living, working, and cheering as one.

Speaker 1: On November 15, 1895, the first Mississippi A&M football team was preparing for a game the following day. Since every college was supposed to have its own uniform colors, the A&M student body requested that the school's team select a suitable combination. Considering the selection an honor, the inaugural State team gave the privilege to team captain W. M. Matthews. Accounts report that, without hesitation, Matthews chose maroon and white.

In 938, football coach Spike Nelson secretly had cardinal and gold uniforms made for State, a selection that did not sit well with the team or the college at the first game. Neither uniforms nor Nelson were back for the next season.

Speaker 2: State teams have answered to different nicknames throughout the years. The first squads representing Mississippi A&M College were proud to be called the Aggies, and when the school officially became Mississippi State College in 1932, the nickname Maroons for the State's uniform color gained prominence.

In 1961, Bulldogs became the official title for State teams. Use as an official mascot began in 1935 when Coach Major Ralph Sasse, on orders from his team, went to Memphis, Tennessee to select a bulldog. For all their fierce appearance and reputation, today's mascot bulldogs are good-natured, friendly animals and favorites with the children.

Speaker 1: State fans celebrate Bulldog victories loudly and proudly with the distinctive sound of ringing cowbells. Though there's no definitive answer to its origin, the most popular legend is that during a home football game between State and arch rival Ole Miss, a cow wandered onto the playing field. Mississippi State soundly whipped the Rebels that Saturday and State college students immediately adopted the cow as a good luck charm. Students are said to have continued bringing the cow to the football games for a while, until the practice was eventually discontinued in favor of bringing just the cow's bell.

In the 1960's, two professors, Earl W. Terrell and Ralph L. Reeves, obliged some students by welding handles onto the bells so that they can be rung with more convenience and authority, and the rest is history.

Speaker 2: The historic Left Field Lounge at Dudy Noble Field got its start in the 1960's with fans driving vehicles into the area to watch the game.

In the early 1970's, one truck driven to left field lounge would not start, so the owners just left the truck there, creating an automatic reserve spot. Fans took advantage of this and brought in trucks, trailers, and motor homes, intending to leave them there. To allow more people to share the space, MSU fans also created home-built seats and bleachers.

Speaker 1: It is truly unique in college baseball and it is a big reason why Dudy Noble Field has been named the number one place to watch college baseball, and among the 100 Things You've Got To Do Before You Graduate by Sports Illustrated.

In 2009, Left Field Lounge was named the country's best tailgating experience by ESPN magazine. And Dudy Noble Field is home to the largest on-campus crowds in college baseball history, holding all 10 of the nation's largest on-campus college baseball crowds. With the new record set during the 2014 season with 15,586 fans watching Mississippi State defeat Ole Miss.

Speaker 2: There's a lot to be proud of every time our Dogs play, but most important is you. Being true maroon means showing up, being loud, and staying until the end.

Speaker 1: So grab your friends, family, or just anyone else in maroon, and go pack the house, whatever the sport. Hail State and we'll see you at the game.