This is the last installment in my series on the mascots of the SEC. It has been fun for me to learn about the various traditions of fellow teams in the SEC. This last post will review the mascots of Missouri and Mississippi State.
Soon after Missouri’s first football team was formed in 1890, the athletic committee adopted the nickname “Tiger” in official recognition of a group of local Civil War militia called “The Missouri Tigers.” Their fighting spirit is now embodied in MU’s official mascot, Truman the Tiger.” Originally, MU had two tiger mascots, a male and a female, but neither had a specific identity. A contest to name the mascot was held in 1984. the winner, a student, submitted the name “Truman” (after Missouri-born President Harry S. Truman. Early historical references make mention of MU using crimson and gold as its school colors. But all Tiger fans know that the official colors for Mizzou are black and gold, in keeping with the colors of the Bengal Tiger. Truman is a popular part of Mizzou tradition and makes over 35 appearances a month including all MU football and basketball games, civic functions, and visits to hospitals and schools.
Bully is the official mascot of the Mississippi State University Bulldogs in Starkville, and the name is given to both the costumed mascot and the live bulldog that appears at State games. The live mascot Bully is an American Kennel Club registered English Bulldog, and each dog is given the inherited title of “Bully.” The name “Bully” is traditionally considered a title and not the official name of the specific dog that holds it. Mississippi State’s athletics teams have had a variety of different nicknames throughout the years. The teams were called the “Aggies,” as a reference to the school’s agricultural roots as Mississippi A&M College. When the school officially became Mississippi State College in 1932, the teams adopted the nickname “Maroons,” as that was the color of their uniforms. “Bulldogs” became the official nickname for State teams after the school was granted university status in 1961, but use of the nickname dates back to at least 1905. A few examples of the given names of Bully, include: Beau Legg, Mr. Muggs, Joker, Rebel, Sissy, and Lucky Be Happy. The current Bully (number 21) is named Cristil’s Golden Prince named after long-time radio voice Jack Cristil. Bully I, Ptolemy, was struck and killed by a campus bus in 1939 and was buried under the bench at the Scott Field 50-yard line. The funeral was so elaborate that it was covered by LIFE magazine! The first costumed mascot also named Bully, appeared in 1964 and continues to appear at MS State athletic functions.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF THE TEAMS IN THE SEC AS THEY PARTICIPATE IN THE POST SEASON BOWL GAMES.