In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Act – providing land-grant entities to finance the establishment of state colleges specializing in “agriculture and the mechanic arts.” As a result, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi was born in 1878. The new institution would receive its first class of students nearly two years later in the fall of 1880. The university is also dedicated to three broad purposes: learning, service, and research (which is also utilized as the school’s motto). The college gained accreditation in 1926 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. State legislature changed the school’s name to Mississippi State College in 1932 and again in 1958 to Mississippi State University.
The Bulldogs participate in 14 different sports with a long history of success throughout multiple programs. The program, which is known for their powerhouse football team, has appeared in a total of 20 bowl games; it’s emerged as the victor in 12 seasons.
There to cheer on the students, alumni, and faculty is the school’s mascot – Bully the Bulldog. Let’s look at how this canine came to be the mascot and focus on the impact he has on die-hard Mississippi State fanatics.
Bully the Bulldog
The athletic teams at Hail State earned the moniker “The Bulldogs” due to their tough and determined gameplay of student-athletes representing the maroon and white. An American Kennel Club-registered English Bulldog serves as the university’s official mascot with the name “Bully” bequeathed to each new pup.
The school’s teams, which date back to at least 1905, have been referenced as Bulldogs interchangeably with past titles such as the Aggies or Maroons. The name was formally adopted as the school’s athletic symbol after taking down their arch rivals, University of Mississippi, in a shutout performance and acknowledged by local newspapers for their “bulldog” style of gameplay. It wasn’t until 1961 that the Bulldogs became the official university title of State teams.
Over the years, Bully has been an attractive target to kidnappers, especially on the night before a major game. The most recent incident occurred in 1974 prior to the State-Ole Miss game which resulted in the Bulldogs basking in victory anyway (31-13).
Once upon a time, Bully could roam campus at his own discretion and even bunked with some fraternity brothers when needed. Nowadays, Bully has found a place to call home at the College of Veterinary Medicine – when he’s not hyping up the fans at a home football game, of course.
Join Bully in representing the maroon and white by heading over to Fanatics for all your Hail State fan gear and essentials!