In 1925, the university held a contest to determine the new name of the MSU sports teams. The name chosen was the unimaginative "Michigan Staters." A local sportswriter was not happy with this title, so he took matters into his own hands, taking one of the other options, "Spartans," and using it in game recaps and eventually, headlines. Nobody complained, so it hung around and remains to this day.
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo cheers with the Michigan State student section after a defensive touchdown during the Spartans' 21-6 win over South Florida at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday. Izzo promised students he would spend part of the game in the student section if they left the stadium during a rain delay after they refused to do so when asked by officials. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)