Michigan State football traditions

michigan state football

Many Big Ten teams have school traditions. I think of a few like Ohio State’s halftime marching band and the dotting of the “I,”Purdue’s pregame “World’s Biggest Drum” beating and Iowa’s halftime wave to the children’s hospital. Michigan State football has some very interesting football traditions of its own. Zeke the Wonder dog, The Spartan Walk, protecting the Sparty statue during the Michigan State vs. Michigan game week as well as our “Go White, Go Green” game time chant.

Zeke the Wonder Dog

One of the more interesting traditions is Zeke the Wonder Dog. Zeke was a golden retriever owned by MSU student Gary Eisenberg back in the 1970s. As a junior, Eisenberg would take Zeke to the frisbee throwing national championships held in Pasadena, California. Officials of the Michigan State athletic department saw the success with Zeke and Eisenberg, so in 1977 they invited them to perform during a Spartan football game, and a tradition was made. Zeke retired doing halftimes in 1984 and passed in 1987.

Since the first Zeke, the Spartans went on an 18-year hiatus but finally brought the Zeke tradition back in 2002. Since 2002, there have been three Zekes with Zeke II in 2002, Zeke III in 2007 and the most current Zeke IV, who debuted during the Michigan State basketball game against Oral Roberts in 2016.

The Spartan Walk

The Spartan walk was one tradition I got to see with my own eyes. Before each home game the Spartans will march together from the Kellogg Hotel all the way to Spartan Stadium. This tradition was an older tradition that Mark Dantonio revived in 2007. While on their walk to Spartan Stadium, the players walk past the bronze statue of Sparty and toss a penny on to the base for good luck. The band plays the fight song as the Spartans walk by the Sparty statue, which adds to the whole feeling of game day. It really is an experience each Michigan State fan should experience at least once in their life.

In-stadium traditions

The Spartans have some great in-stadium traditions as well. One of the most known is the pregame announcement of the weather report in East Lansing followed by the announcer saying, “It’s a beautiful day for football” over the loud speaker right before kickoff. The weather conditions really do not matter because Spartan fans will come during rain, sleet or snow.

A newer tradition created after the release of the popular movie “300” is the Spartan chant. The sound and video systems show the scene from the movie when Leonidas shouts, “Spartans, what is your profession” followed by the entire stadium chanting “A-oo! A-oo! A-oo!” It is a great way to get the crowd all rowdy and excited during the game.

Last, but certainly not least, my personal favorite of the “Go White, Go Green” chants during the game. One wing of the stadium will chant “Go Green” while the opposite wing chants back “Go White.” It is a great way to drown out the noise of the opposing team’s offense. The whole stadium gets in sync, and it is an amazing chant to hear and be a part of.

Writing about all of these traditions gets me so excited for game day on Oct. 24. I am itching with excitement, and my ears need to hear the chants of Spartan Stadium over my TV. I can’t wait to see the new traditions that may be created in upcoming years with new head coach Mel Tucker. What will Tucker be faced with during rivalry games? I guess we will have to wait until game day.