MTSU Homecoming has a proud history
School spirit and the famous Blue Raider pride shines possibly at its brightest during homecoming week festivities.
The ceremonial crowning of homecoming king and queen, the Band of Blue striking up the fight song, the parade celebrating Blue Raider pride with decorated floats, tailgating and the football game are just some of the customs associated with homecoming.
Alumni enjoy this sentimental time as a way to reflect back upon their days as students. Homecoming is also a great time for them to look at how the campus and their fellow Blue Raiders have flourished.
Originally, a senior class brought about homecoming.
A football queen had never existed until 1934, when Mary Adams and “Bill” Westzel were designated as football sponsors. In the following year of 1935, Frances Nicholson was crowned “Queen of Love and Beauty.” The parade was not established until 1939.
During the WWII, 1943-45, football was suspended, but the parade lived on. Despite the gas shortage in 1942, Blue Raider pride kept the tradition alive. Participants marched around the square on foot and instead of vehicles they used horse drawn carriages.
“There is no better day than a fall afternoon to go to homecoming and watch a parade, and do some tailgating and go to a football game,” said Athletic Director Chris Massaro.
Since the fall of 1925, when graduates of the newly named Middle Tennessee State began coming back to the college on a “Homecoming Basis,” this picture-perfect day has progressed into what it is now.
In the Sidelines Sept. 23, 1943 newspaper this poem was published:
“All that I have left is memories of these days,
When we had fun in so many different ways;
I only hope that others at some future date,
May enjoy themselves as I did at Tennessee State.”
Captain Roger Smith, alumnus of the class of 1941, wrote this poem on the battle lines in the South Pacific. It could be thought that when we gather for this year’s homecoming, Smith would be happy to know that throughout the years the happiness associated with homecoming lives on at MTSU.
On the field, the Blue Raiders have had their share of success since the first homecoming football game in 1937 ended in a 13-13 tie against in-state foe, Tennessee Tech.
MT football touts a 50-20-2 record in Homecoming games, beating its opponents by an average of over 11 points per contest, including 13 shut outs. The team posted its largest Homecoming victory in 1991, when it beat Southeast Missouri State, 52-0. The Blue Raiders are 11-4 versus current Sun Belt teams in Homecoming match ups and had defeated ULM twice before on Homecoming by a margin of 28 points in each game.
The annual tradition of “homecoming” owes its origins to a 1911 football game pitting the University of Missouri against its heated rival, the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Missouri Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited alumni to “come home” to help cheer on the Tigers in Columbia, Mo., on that fall day. Over 10,000 alumni attended the game, which ended in a 3-3 tie.
Since then, teams from most recognized colleges and thousands of high schools have taken part in this tradition and have incorporated it into their annual celebrations.