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The tradition of Mizzou Football has been around for well over a century. Take a moment to browse through historic photos and read a bit about some of the rich history surrounding the University of Missouri.


The Big 'M'

Big MThe Big 'M' is located in Memorial Stadium. It was initially a freshmen stunt pulled in 1927 when they stacked up giant stones in the north end zone the night before the Homecoming game. That night, it took them just an hour to construct the Big 'M'. The night before MU/Nebraska game in 1950s, Nebraska fans snuck into Memorial Stadium and changed the "M" to an "N". Groundskeeper noticed it and gave students in the Laws and Lathrop residence halls free Cokes and tickets to football game if they helped fix it. Now, it is tradition for freshmen to whitewash the rocks each fall.

Why are we the Tigers?

Missourians defended Columbia against bands of guerillas from both the Union and the Confederate during the Civil War. However, they never had to actually fight because they earned a reputation for being as "fierce as Tigers" and the name stuck and became our University's mascot. The name for Truman the Tiger was in honor of President Harry S. Truman and came into existence in the mid-1980s.


The Homecoming Tradition at Mizzou

By Dale Wright

1893 team The rivalry between Missouri and Kansas dates back to pre-civil war days, during the "Border Wars," and so how appropriate for the next "wars" to take place on the college football gridiron. In 1891, the next installment of the border battle began, as the Tigers would face the kU Jayhawks on a different field, the college football gridiron. This rivalry would also become the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.

1954 Float Perhaps because of this intense war between the states, the battle always took place at a neutral site. Most of the games took place in Kansas City, with one game moved to St. Joseph, MO. Due to legislation handed down by the NCAA, the game had to be moved to a new battlefield, the campus football fields. At this time, Missouri trailed in the series by a count of 12-3-5 so there was a need to renew some excitement to this series.

Chester L. Brewer, MU's Director of Athletics, had a vision. His vision, to add some excitement to the rivalry, was to invite alumni to "come home" for the game. As part of this celebration of "coming home," there was a parade and spirit rally to coincide with the actual game. In 1911, with a spirit rally, parade and more than 9,000 fans packed into Rollins Field (current site of Stankowski Field), the tradition of "Homecoming" at the University of Missouri and has served as a model for the various Homecoming celebrations that take place across the nation.

1933 Student Paper The Homecoming celebration at Mizzou has become a grand tradition and one of MU's largest events, as well as in the nation. Recently, the University of Missouri's Homecoming celebration was named thebest Homecoming in the nation--the only school to hold such an honor--and has been named a model Homecoming program, by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Carrying on the spirit of the event it started, Mizzou still has its annual parade and spirit rally. Homecoming at Mizzou has broken the world's record for the largest peacetime blood drive on a college campus, and has included large emphasis on community service, campus decorations, talent competition, Homecoming hall of fame and many other activities. Each year, thousands of students, alumni and friends "come home" to celebrate the tradition of Homecoming. We hope to see you all in the fall.

Homecoming 1929, vs. Nebraska (University Archives, C:0/49/2)
MU Football team, 1893 (University Archives, C:22/8/1))
Art Students' Homecoming Parade Float, 1954 (University Archives, C:0/3/8)
The Missouri Student Welcomes MU Graduates to Homecoming, 1933 (University Archives, C:0/49/2)

For even more information about Mizzou Traditions, click here!