Construction along Service Road in 2020 found a mid-20th-century midden. The artifacts found were associated with the history of temporary post-World War II student housing on Michigan State’s campus. After the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, or the GI Bill, became law, college enrollment increased …
Tag: campus history
For most of us, it seems that not much happens at MSU in July. Most of the students are still gone, and while the occasional roving herd of incoming freshmen pass through for orientation, the campus still seems quiet. Historically, not much has happened this …
Michigan State University was originally established in 1855 as an agricultural college of the state and after almost 160 years, it has grown to become one of the largest educational institutions in the U.S. Over the years, MSU has become known for, not only its excellence in education, but also for its athletics. Possessing 23 varsity squads, 11 men’s sports teams and 12 women’s sports teams, as well as one of the largest intramural sports programs, its hard to not get involved in the athletic community. Whether you’re the person out there getting us those wins, or like me, the fan cheering obnoxiously from the stands, or even the coach, there’s nothing like the thrill of being apart of Spartan athletics, especially when it comes to Michigan State Basketball.
Basketball was first invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith as a simple indoor winter activity. But, little did he know that his simple game would eventually turn into an extremely popular, international sport. Between 1898 and 1899, only a few years after its invention, Michigan State played their first intercollegiate men’s basketball game, with their first championship win a few years after that, in 1903. Oddly enough, basketball did not become a popular sport among MSU students until 1929 to the 1930s, which was around the same time the university introduced Demonstration Hall as its first indoor basketball arena. After winning a few more championships, Jenison Field House was built in 1940 and soon became the new center for Men’s Spartan basketball. After years of fighting to get into the Big Ten Conference, President John A. Hannah finally succeeded in 1949, putting us head-to-head with U of M, who was even our rival back then. And after a few years in the conference, Michigan State won their first Big Ten title and made their first NCAA Final Four appearance in 1957. In the years to follow, the men’s MSU basketball team has made 15 straight NCAA appearances, which includes 8 Final Four appearances, 2 of which they were the NCAA champions. From the very first basketball game played, Michigan State has produced 21 All-Americans, 37 NBA players, 5 of which are still playing, as well as a few who went on to become Olympic gold medalists.
On the other hand, women’s basketball had a slightly slower start. Women everywhere formally began playing the sport around the same time as the men, in 1898. However, they were only allowed to compete in “field day meetings,” which were extremely informal games, set-up by themselves. At this time, competing in intercollegiate sports were strictly prohibited for all female athletes. As a result, Michigan State’s women’s basketball team did not play their first official intercollegiate game until 1973. And, it wasn’t until 6 years later, in 1979, that they gave out their first woman’s basketball scholarships, one of them going to freshman Nanette Gibson. Although they didn’t win any titles that year, the women finally won their first Big Ten title in 1997 and more recently, their first Big Ten Tournament Title in 2005. Since their first intercollegiate game, the lady Spartans have made 5 straight NCAA tournament appearances, produced 6 All-Americans and helped draft 5 players in the WNBA.
Learning about the history of Michigan State basketball helps us realize how far we have come and grown, not only within this sport, but also as a university. Basketball, as well as the other 22 intercollegiate sports offered here, bring all 49,000 of us together to share our love of the game, as well as, our strong Spartan pride. With basketball season right around the corner, many are wondering if this is the year that both the men and women bring home the national championship – I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Author: Ciera Uyeunten
Michigan State University Board of Trustee. “MSU – Sports History.” MSU – Sports History. Matrix, 2009. Web. 22 OCt. 2013. <http://sports.history.msu.edu/index.php>.
Welcome back to a new semester (and new year) for Campus Archaeology. We’re looking forward to this semester, especially since we’re going to be starting a number of surveys and excavations on campus this Spring. Sadly, we did not receive the funding from the MSU …