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The Mississippi State Bulldogs have a long and storied history, and their beloved mascot, Bully, has been a part of that history since the 1930s. Legend has it that coach Major Ralph Sasse went all the way to Memphis to find the perfect bulldog to represent his team. He returned with Ptolemy, a gift from the Edgar Webster family, and the rest is history. With Bully on the sidelines, the Bulldogs have achieved great success, including a memorable victory over Alabama in 1935.
Later that year a litter-mate of Ptolemy became the first mascot called “Bully.” However, tragedy struck in 1939 when MSU's beloved mascot was hit by a bus. The outpouring of love for the Bulldog was immense as mourners viewed the fallen mascot as he lay in state in a glass coffin.
Bully was laid to rest under the 50 yard line of Scott Field. As his funeral procession was joined by the Maroon Band and three ROTC battalions, Life Magazine covered the emotional event.
Bullys that have followed and eventually passed away, have been buried near campus dorms, at fraternity houses and at the football stadium.
The early line of Bullys led a more carefree lifestyle that included roaming the campus freely or living in frat houses. However, today Bully has settled down and is now housed at the School of Veterinary Medicine when he’s not panting on the sidelines.
A bulldog costumed student, who is part of the MSU cheerleading team, shares the “Bully” name. This Bully assists in getting State fans fired up and has been known to stir the emotions of opposing mascots as well.
Mississippi State University made a big announcement during Saturday's 2023 spring football game. The beloved English bulldog mascot, Jak, would be retiring and passing on the mantle to the next generation of Bulldogs.
Dak was introduced as the newest addition to the mascot family. The new mascot has some big shoes to fill, considering he was named after former MSU QB Dak Prescott who after starring for the Maroon and White, became a force for the Dallas Cowboys.
Following the presentation of MSU's new mascot named after him, Prescott seemed pleased, "How about it?” Prescott said, via MSU's athletics website. “They’ve named the mascot after me, so I had to come back and see that. … For the mascot of Mississippi State, of this university, to be named after me, it’s humbling. It’s something I hold very special to me.”
How Mississippi State Gained the Bulldogs Nickname
From a small bark to a powerful roar, the Mississippi State Bulldogs have left their mark on the collegiate sports world. The Bulldog nickname had been lingering around since the early 1900s, but it wasn't until 1961 that the mighty Bully officially took his place at the top of the food chain. It all started with a historic victory over their arch-rival Ole Miss in 1905, where the fierce bulldog mentality was embraced by the Mississippi State community.
The iconic campus paper, "The Reflector," reported that the cadets held a military funeral parade to symbolize Ole Miss' dead athletic spirit. On top of the coffin carried by the 12 cadets was a bulldog puppy that was treated to a brass band playing a very pathetic funeral march. Other newspapers continued to wag the Bulldog tail as their reports of the victory included comments on the “Bulldog” style of play by the A&M eleven.
From that day forward, the Bulldogs were born and nothing could stop them from becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Mississippi State Tradition Rings Loud
Mississippi State fans have been ringing cowbells at their football games since the early 1900s. It's a tradition that has become synonymous with Mississippi State Athletics and one of the loudest collegiate football experiences in the country!
One legend is that a streaker ran onto Mississippi State's practice field in the 1940s and was chased off by an angry bull. Fans began bringing cowbells to games as a way to show support for the team, mimicking the sound of a bull chasing away intruders from their practices.
Over the years, ringing cowbells has become an integral part of Mississippi State's fan rituals and traditions. It is one way that Mississippi State alumni express loyalty and pride for their University every time they visit campus or watch away games on TV.
When asked about cowbells during his tenure as head coach of Mississippi State, Jackie Sherrill was quoted saying “It’s part of our program; it’s like having 12th Man on special teams."
Other great traditions affiliated with MSU are Bulldog Walk (an event where players walk through campus before game day), The Maroon Out (dress up in maroon attire), and singing "Hail State" after victories. Fans also display banners reading "HAIL STATE", which stands for Honor Above Intellect And Loyalty To All Students Everywhere". Participating in these activities will truly bring out your inner Bulldog spirit!
You Can Wrap it in Maroon and White
Mississippi State’s maroon and white color scheme is deeply rooted in the school’s history. When Mississippi A&M College (later MSU) was founded in 1880, the student body voted for these two colors as their official college colors.
The school's roots of tradition began in 1895 when a group of students attended an agricultural meeting at the University of Georgia and came back with a bulldog – which eventually became Bully, the Bulldog mascot we all know today. Since that time, bulldogs have served as the official mascot of Mississippi State University and have appeared on many artifacts throughout campus to represent our proud university spirit.
Additionally, maroon and white has been used to signify pride since 1902 when it was first worn by football players. Following this lead, other varsity teams adopted these same colors along with all other athletics programs at MSU including basketball, baseball, tennis and others sports teams representing our university. Even pep rallies saw students wearing traditional maroon cheerleader uniforms topped off with an iconic megaphone held high by popular yell leaders - another long standing tradition practiced today at Mississippi State!
All in all, it's easy to see why Mississippi State chose maroon and white as its official college colors; these hues are both full of nostalgia for past traditions while still continuing to symbolize Bulldogs pride across generations!
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