The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Love abounds in maroon and white: The Reflector sits down with the patriarchs and matriarchs of MSU athletics

Courtesy Photo | Frasier family

John and Jennie Fraiser pose for a photo wearing their beloved maroon and white.

For decades, Mississippi State University athletics have been at the forefront of the lives of Bulldog couples everywhere. Recently, The Reflector got to sit down with some of those couples and hear their stories about what makes MSU’s athletics so much more than just a weekend activity. 

Flashback to the year 1976 in Jackson, Mississippi, where the MSU Bulldogs met the Auburn Tigers on a warm fall evening. Amongst the crowd, one might find a young Ron and Jan Black on their first date as a young couple. 

“Everyone wanted to have a date with a girl that lived in Jackson,” Jan Black said, “because you didn’t want to have to worry about driving back to Starkville or finding a place to stay. So our roommates just kind of threw us together, and that was back in 1976.”

For her husband Ron, the former president of the MSU Alumni Association, Bulldog blood has run through his veins ever since his family member made their mark on MSU. 

“My brother played basketball at (Mississippi) State from ’67-’71,” Ron Black said, “so all those years that he played basketball, needless to say, we came up to every home game. That’s how I became a fan.”

According to the couple, there was never any question that MSU was home for them. 

“I never thought about it,” Ron Black said, “Once I started coming up here and going to ball games it was like, ‘That’s where I’m going to school.’ I never thought anything about going anywhere else.”

Despite living in Starkville now, the Blacks haven’t always called the Magnolia state home. The couple lived in Austin, Texas for a brief stint, but still kept their ties to MSU as strong as ever. In fact, Ron was kind enough to share a story of just how the MSU alumni living in Texas got to listen to games before they moved back home. 

Each Saturday, the couple would get up and make the two hour drive to Houston, Texas, where one of the largest MSU alumni chapters resides, and crowdfund a long distance phone call to Mississippi, just so they could get the radio call feed of the late Jack Cristil giving his famed play-by-play commentary.

“You would have anywhere from 50-75 people sitting around listening to Jack Cristil on Saturday, because we had no internet,” Ron Black said. 

When asked what MSU means to them, Ron had only one thing to say. 

“Thank you. Thank you for my life, because basically, if it wasn’t for Mississippi State, I wouldn’t have her, and if it wasn’t for Mississippi State preparing me to be successful, we wouldn’t have this house or my career, so thank you,” Ron Black said. 

While the Blacks have witnessed plenty of great moments in their days of fandom, there is one couple who have been Bulldogs for just a little bit longer. 

John and Jennie Fraiser are Starkville residents and have made the road trip to Omaha, Nebraska each time the Diamond Dawgs have stepped foot in the championship. John, a 96-year-old World War II veteran and former member of the Mississippi legislature, shared that some of his fondest memories are from his time in Starkville. 

“I graduated high school in 1942 and immediately enrolled a week later in the summer studies at Mississippi State when I was 16 years old,” John Fraiser said, “and I took extra hours around the clock until I was 17 years old. Then I packed my bags and went home and got my mother and dad to sign my petition to go into the Air Force cadet program.”

John returned home after the war and earned a law degree before he was elected to the Mississippi senate. During that time, Jennie was working as a high school librarian in Greenwood, Mississippi. The two were still as passionate as ever about Bulldog sports, though, so every weekend they would meet at a house they had purchased in Starkville for some time together at the field or stadium. 

The Fraisers have never let distance get in the way of their love for the team in maroon and white, and that paid off in the best way possible this past year, when MSU won the first national title in the school’s history during the college world series. 

John and Jennie Fraiser stay at the same hotel each time they make the trip, and by now, the staff expects them, so when the Diamond Dawgs brought home the gold this year, the Fraisers returned to a room decorated by the hotel staff in maroon and white. 

The Fraisers can be found in their seats at just about every MSU athletic event, especially basketball games, and are a living testament to the fact that MSU sports are not just something to do if you want to kill time on the weekends – they’re so much more. Sports make us sad, they make us happy and they give us moments and memories with each other like nothing else can. 

All across the country there are couples like the Fraisers and the Blacks, but here in Starkville, at Dudy Noble Field, Humphrey Coliseum, Davis-Wade Stadium or any of the numerous athletic facilities on campus, love abounds in ways that can hardly be put into words. Love abounds in maroon and white, ladies and gentlemen, and it always will.  

About the Contributor
Tanner Marlar
Tanner Marlar, Former Managing Editor
Tanner Marlar served as the Managing Editor from 2022 to 2023. He also served as the Sports Editor from 2021 to 2022.
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Love abounds in maroon and white: The Reflector sits down with the patriarchs and matriarchs of MSU athletics