What is the old Michigan State Sparty logo's name?

29 May, 2015 2 comments Leave a comment

Take a stroll through Michigan State's campus in East Lansing and you'll see this guy everywhere. He's on t-shirts, posters, stickers, phone covers...you name it. But, what is his name exactly? Here at Nudge, we've heard lots of variations. Anywhere from Mean Sparty, Butch Sparty, Sparty Mug, Gruff Sparty, Retro Sparty, Brewtus Sparty, Ugly Sparty, vintage Sparty, and Old Sparty. It seems that everyone has a different opinion and that it spreads through multiple generations of fans and alumni throughout Michigan State.  

Here's what we know...    You found me! The coupon code is: Congrats!

According to www.sportslogos.net, MSU has had several logos associated with the historic university. The two that come up most frequently today are the Spartan Helmet and the Block S. However, we did find that this particular sparty logo in question was used primarily between the years 1983 and 1987. Not only that, but that it was originally designed by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity as listed at knowledgenetwork.alumni.msu.edu

This brings us to today.. 

Although he has many nicknames, there was only one source that we feel is the most reliable... the Michigan State University Licensing Department. According to the graphics that are provided us licensees, the official nomenclature is... *drum roll please*... GRUFF SPARTY!

Still skeptical? here's a screen clipping of MSU's graphics website: Gruff Sparty Official Name

No matter what your opinion, let's all agree to continue the charge of bringing this emblem back to action! What do you call him?? 


*PS - I've hidden a coupon code for 50% off a Gruff Sparty car decal somewhere in this article. Let's see if you can find it! :)*

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  1. Gabe October 11, 2016

    Fascinating!! Is this the same paper mache’ head that is in the Student Book Store? Thank you for sharing, David!

  2. David Scholfield October 04, 2016

    When MSU became a university in 1950, it did not have a formal logo image. A local ad company put what we now call the ‘gruff’ Sparty logo together and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity created a paper mache’ head to be worn by its members at games. This image was universally known as ‘Sparty’ to football fans until the University decided to “brand” the name and logo, forcing the Fraternity to ‘retire’ the football logo. The University replaced this beloved mascot with the “modern” bland image used today.

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