Michigan State University

SPARTANS & SPARTY

During the early 1900’s, students at Michigan Agricultural College were known as “Aggies.” When the name was changed to Michigan State College in 1926, “Aggies” was replaced by the winner of a naming contest, “Michigan Staters.”  Sportswriter George Alderton of the Lansing State Journal disliked that nickname and on his own, selected another entry, “Michigan State Spartans.” He put the nickname into print on April 2, 1926–and the students and public loved it. So the Michigan State Spartans were born.

The first “Sparty” appeared in 1945 in the form of a terra cotta statue, representing a human-like warrior. Although the likeness of a Spartan mascot began to appear in different forms after 1926 as a broad-chinned, muscular warrior, the actual costumed mascot did not become a reality until 1989, making Sparty rather young in the mascot world. The first costumed mascot was introduced to fans during the 1989 football season.