A sketch of first homecoming game. Mizzou and Kansas tied 3-3.

Border War Chronicles: Homecoming, 1911

To celebrate perhaps the final game of the Border War, Zoulogy will present memories of the most important chapters in the history of the rivalry every day leading up to the game. Today’s installment: The game on Nov. 25,1911, that became known as the first homecoming.

The 21st meeting of the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi marked the first time the game was played at the University of Missouri.

The game was originally played on neutral sites until the Missouri Valley conference passed a new regulation requiring all collegiate games to be on a college campus. To celebrate the game coming to Mizzou for the first time and to bolster interest and attendance, Tigers coach Chester Brewster invited all the alumni of the university to come back to Mizzou in a “coming home” of sorts.

And thus that game between Kansas and Mizzou became what is now officially recognized by the NCAA as the first ever homecoming.

Over 10,000 showed up to cheer on the Tigers and help christen the new Mizzou football field, Rollins Field.

The game ended in a 3-3 tie, though little is known about the play of the game. Written accounts of the game itself are difficult to find, and only the names of the players can be found. But the festivities surrounding the game are well documented, including the first homecoming parade and a spirit rally.

Though the game is surrounded by mystery as to its events, there is no doubt that the structure of that weekend remains the structure used for modern homecoming: a week of festivities inviting past alumni home all surrounding a major sporting event.

It is known that the game was a hard-fought contest between the two rivals. The tie gave Mizzou a 2-4-2 record to close the season. Thought the game is now back in Kansas City where it originated, the tradition of homecoming lives on from that game.

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