Tailgate and Tradition – The Tiger

This week’s Tailgate and Tradition post takes a closer look at how Mizzou became The Tigers.

Here are the details from MUTigers.com:

The nickname “Tigers,” given to Mizzou’s athletic teams, traces its origin to the Civil War period. At that time, plundering guerilla bands habitually raided small towns, and Columbia people constantly feared an attack. Such organizations as temporary “home guards” and vigilance companies banded together to fight off any possible forays.

The town’s preparedness discouraged any guerilla activity and the protecting organization began to disband in 1854. However, it was rumored that a guerilla band, led by the notorious Bill Anderson, intended to sack the town. Quickly organized was an armed guard of Columbia citizens, who built a blockhouse and fortified the old courthouse in the center of town. This company was called “The Missouri Tigers.”

The marauders never came. The reputation of the intrepid “Tigers” presumably traveled abroad, and Anderson’s gang detoured around Columbia.

Soon after Missouri’s first football team was organized in 1890, the athletic committee adopted the nickname “Tiger” in official recognition of those Civil War defenders. Their spirit is now embodied in the MU mascot – “Truman the Tiger.” In 1984, the Tiger was named Truman after President Harry S. Truman, a Missouri native.

The Tiger spirit is embodied all over campus, from Truman to the MIzzou athletics logo to the Tiger statue at the entrance to Carnahan Quadrangle on the south part of campus. With all this history, Tiger fans bleed black and gold for a reason!

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Mizzou Homecoming: A History

As the home to the first homecoming ever, it’s only right that Mizzou have one of the largest ones in the nation each year. This year, homecoming will be celebrated the week of October 22nd, with the week culminating in the football game against Kentucky at 11 a.m. on Saturday the 27th.

One of the most important parts of celebrating homecoming is appreciating its history. The roots of homecoming span all the way back to Civil War times, when Kansas and Missouri were rivals as states before schools. From Mizzou’s History of Homecoming:

Player’s on the field at MU’s first homecoming football game.

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.

Since that first homecoming in 1911, Mizzou’s homecoming has only grown and improved.

Those at homecoming are welcomed in 1933.

The Homecoming Parade in 1963

Things are more live and in color now, so keep checking back this week to learn more about this year’s festivities. And welcome home!