Well, Michigan, here we go again. Yet another milestone that we don't get credit for. You see, an argument can be made that a college in the Mitten was the first ever to invite alumni to return to campus every year for a football game.

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There are 3 schools that lay claim to the title of 1st Homecoming in History, including Baylor University, and University of Illinois. But if it's a bar bet you're looking to settle, the correct answer is U of M (nope, not that one).

The School Credited With Holding the 1st Homecoming in History

University of Missouri U. Missouri Campus Back To Work One Day After President And Chancellor Resign Resigns As Protests Grow over Racism
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In 1911 the University of Missouri's annual rivalry game against Kansas was moved from Kansas City, MO, to the college's campus. According to the University of Missouri's website, Head Football Coach and Athletic Director, Chester Brewer made an overture to alumni:

Brewer was concerned about whether alumni would make the trip to Columbia. Thus, his invitation for alumni to “come home” was a call that drew a crowd of 9,000-plus.

With that in mind, and going by Merriam-Webster's definition of 'homecoming':

the return of a group of people usually on a special occasion to a place formerly frequented or regarded as home 

especially an annual celebration for alumni at a high school, college, or university 

Seems legit. Mizzou's claim has been officially recognized by two trivia giants: Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit.
For argument's sake, it should be noted that though he was the coach of Missouri at the time, Chester Brewer, was a native of Owosso, Michigan who had previously served as the first Michigan Agricultural College Athletic Director (now Michigan State University), and before that, he was the AD at Albion College. Brewer was inducted into the Michigan State University in 2000.
But, that is not what makes the Mitten home to the first ever 'Homecoming' in history.
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So, what college in Michigan has extended an invitation to their alumni requesting their attendance at a football game longer? The answer is U of M (yes, that one).

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The University of Michigan has been inviting its graduates to 'come home' for a football game since 1911 too. In fact, Michigan's tradition of former players challenging the then-varsity team to an actual game dates back a bit longer. Even the University of Missouri acknowledges the other U of M's history:

The University of Michigan tracks its Homecoming tradition to 1897, when the student athletic association sponsored Alumni Games, during which the varsity football team faced a squad of former players. Beginning in 1900, Michigan began playing a rival university for the event, but it wasn’t formally referred to as Homecoming.

Hmmmm. Scroll back up and re-read the definition of 'Homecoming', I'll wait. Back? Seems to me that what Michigan was doing in 1897 fits the description, only the alumni were expected to play, not reconnect and drink.


What do you think? Should U of M be considered the Home of Homecoming? Opinions may vary, but if Alex Trebek says it's Mizzou, it has to be true (at least when settling a bar bet).

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