Way back when, Michigan State University was named Michigan Agricultural College. They were known back then as "Aggies". In 1925 the school's name became Michigan State College. Clearly, they had to get a new nickname. According to a great article in Sunday's Lansing State Journal, the school held a contest to pick the new name. The teams could've been named the Bearcats, the Bob Cats or even the "Fawns". However the winning name chosen was...the Staters. That didn't go over well with a lot of people. Including Stephen Scofes, a guy whose family owned a restaurant in Lansing. A family who had come to Lansing from a town in Greece near - (wait for it) Sparta. He suggested the name "Spartans".

The Scofes family is a big part of East Lansing and MSU history. Stephen's son George Scofes was a part owner of Dooley's - the bar that became Harper's - and where U2 played in 1981.

Cool story. Here's the rest of it.

 

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