COLUMBIA — At MU, homecoming is a tradition, sure, but it’s also propaganda, indoctrination. MU invented homecoming, and you’d better believe it. Seriously.
Tour guides are instructed to tell all prospective students the lore: In 1911 former Missouri coach Chester Brewer organized the first homecoming. Ever. Brewer invited the school’s alumni to return to Columbia for the annual rivalry football game against Kansas, and homecoming was born — or so they say.
No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, 2-0)
at No. 18 Missouri Tigers (6-0, 2-0)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Columbia
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM and 100.5 FM, KCQM/96.7 FM - Mike Kelly (play-by-play), John Kadlec (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines)
TV: ABC Sports - Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter)
SERIES: Oklahoma leads, 66-23-5 and has won seven straight since Missouri’s last win in 1998.
Several other universities, including Illinois, Baylor and Indiana, also claim to have invented homecoming, though. Illinois’ first homecoming game took place in 1910, but the school did not hold a homecoming game in 1918. Baylor held a game in 1909, but didn’t have another until 1915. And Indiana — well, no one’s really sure how its 1910 game could possibly not count as the first.
Todd McCubbin, the executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association, said that he is not so sure about the claim. Although he cited the usual support for Missouri’s invention — Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and the NCAA give the school credit, he said. He didn’t seem too hung up on the details.
“At the end of the day, we don’t get caught up with it as the ‘first,’” he said.
McCubbin acknowledged that a lot of other schools claim the distinction, and he said that those claims have increased in recent years. He said that it’s somewhat odd that people are so focused on the past when MU’s present-day homecoming is one of the best in the country.
“Not a lot of places do it like we do,” McCubbin said.
He also pointed out that homecoming today is wildly different from the one in 1911 that was held on what is now Stankowski Field. The two events are almost impossible to compare, and McCubbin’s job is to make the present-day event as well-attended and smoothly-run as possible. If McCubbin had his way, people would stop quibbling over the minutia of 1910 and 1911 and would focus on today’s event, which he says Missouri does better than any other school.
“If there was a holiday that was named after Mizzou, it would be Mizzou Homecoming,” he said.