Missouri State Bears football

The Missouri State Bears football program is the college football team that represents Missouri State University located in Springfield, Missouri, United States. Missouri State competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Missouri State Bears football
2020 Missouri State Bears football team
Missouri State Bears wordmark.png
First season1909
Head coachBobby Petrino
1st season, 5–4 (.556)
StadiumRobert W. Plaster Stadium[1]
(Capacity: 17,500)
LocationSpringfield, Missouri, U.S.
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceMissouri Valley (since 2008)
Past conferencesIndependent (1909–1923)
MIAA (1924–1980)
Mid-Continent (1981–1984)
All-time record470–522–39[2] (.475)
Playoff appearances2 (1989, 1990) (FCS playoffs)
Playoff record1–2
Conference titles10 (1928, 1940, 1948, 1951, 1963, 1966, 1978, 1989, 1990, 2020)
Consensus All-Americans50 Associated Press[3]
ColorsMaroon, Black, and White[4]
Fight songThe Scotsman
Marching bandThe Pride
Websitemissouristatebears.com (football homepage)

The school was known as Southwest Missouri State until 2005 when they changed the name to Missouri State. Missouri State's first football team was fielded in 1909 and the first coach in program history was Walter Langston who went 4–2 in his only season as head coach. Prior to 1923, the team competed as an Independent. From 1923 to 1980, Missouri State were members of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, of which Missouri State was a founding member. During that time the Bears were classified in the NCAA College Division from 1958 to 1972. From 1973 to 1980 the Bears played in NCAA Division II. Missouri State moved up to the Association of Mid-Continent Universities in time for the 1981 season, which was their first season in Division I-AA. In 1985 the Bears became a founding member of the Gateway Football Conference which later became the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008.

Missouri State has an all-time record of 470–519–39 and have won 10 conference championships. They won their most recent conference championship in 2020. Missouri State was ranked second in the country for 3 weeks from October 15 to 29, 1990. This is still the highest ranking in school history.[2] The team plays its home games at the 17,500-seat Robert W. Plaster Stadium which has been its home since 1941. The Bears have had 21 head coaches in their history, including their current head coach Bobby Petrino.



  • 1958–1972: NCAA College Division
  • 1973–1980: NCAA Division II
  • 1982–present: NCAA Division I–AA/FCS

Conference membershipsEdit

†Founding member of the conference

Head coachesEdit

Since 1909, the Missouri State Bears have had 21 different head coaches. The first coach in program history was Walter Langston who coached the team for one year. Arthur Briggs is the longest tenured head coach with two non consecutive runs as head coach. He coached the Bears for 20 seasons in total. The current coach is Bobby Petrino who was hired on January 16, 2020.[5] There was no team for the 1913 season. Due to World War II, Missouri State did not field a team for the 1943–1944 seasons.[2]

Tenure Coach Record Win Percentage
1909 Walter Langston 4-2 .667
1910–1911 Corliss Buchanan 2-10 .167
1912–1917 Arthur W. Briggs 15-9-2 .615
1918 Paul Andrews 1-2 .333
1919–1933 Arthur W. Briggs 61-50-8 .546
1934–1937 A.J. McDonald 5-22-5 .234
1938–1946 Red Blair 38-21-6 .631
1947–1948 Tommy O'Boyle 16-4-1 .786
1949–1952 Fred Thomsen 19-17-4 .525
1953–1954 Bill Dellastatious 5-12 .294
1955 Harold "Tuffy" Stratton 2-6-1 .278
1956–1960 Aldo Sebben 17-27-1 .389
1961–1964 Orville Pottenger 24-12-2 .658
1965–1968 Jim Mentis 20-21 .488
1969–1975 Don Cross 23-45-3 .345
1976–1985 Rich Johanningmeier 58-44-5 .565
1986–1994 Jesse Branch 55-44-1 .555
1995–1998 Del Miller 21-23 .477
1999–2005 Randy Ball 34-42 .447
2006–2014 Terry Allen 37-64 .366
2015–2019 Dave Steckel 13-42 .236
2020–present Bobby Petrino 5-4 .555
Total 470-522-39 .475


Plaster StadiumEdit

Missouri State plays all home games at Plaster Stadium, which has been their home since 1941. From its opening in 1941 to 1991 the stadium was known as Briggs Stadium. The stadium currently seats 17,500 people. It has undergone several major renovations in 1991 and, most recently, in 2014. After the 1991 renovation which added an upper deck on the west side and a row of sky-boxes and press box, the stadium was renamed in honor of Robert W. Plaster who provided the major gift for the project. The Stadium was updated in 2008 with a new video board behind the south endzone. The 2014 renovation made significant changes to the East side of the stadium and the playing surface. The track was removed and the East side was completely rebuilt. The stadium record attendance is 18,386 which was at the 2014 home opener versus North Dakota. Plaster Stadium is the 4th-largest stadium in the conference and the second-largest college football specific venue in Missouri.

Post-2014 renovation view of Plaster Stadium from the south endzone

Top 5 largest crowdsEdit

Rank Date Attendance Opponent Result
1 September 13, 2014 18,386 North Dakota W, 38–0
2 September 12, 2017 17,835 Chadron State W, 21–13
3 October 28, 1997 15,672 Pittsburg State L, 8–9
4 November 2, 1996 15,878 Western Illinois L, 17–23
5 September 9, 2000 15,647 Missouri Southern W, 48–3

Indoor practice facilityEdit

In July of 2018 it was reported that Missouri State was undergoing the process of securing funding to build an indoor practice facility. In a phone interview with the Springfield News-Leader, athletic director Kyle Moats talked at length about the facility. Missouri State would build the indoor facility entirely through private donations to the athletic department. The facility was to be built on the existing ROTC and band practice field. The school's athletic director Kyle Moats said "From a recruiting standpoint, others in the conference have one," Moats said. "We need to at least try and put people on equal bases." He also was quoted that the facility would be apart of their plan to continually upgrade team's facilities. The indoor facility would also be shared by some of the other athletic programs at Missouri State. [6] In November of 2019, athletic director Kyle Moats gave an update to "The Standard", the Missouri State student newspaper. He said the athletic department wasn't able to achieve the funding they needed to build the facility as some other programs became more important to address first. He said they had decided to use a more cost efficient approach and decided to build a dome over Betty and Bobby Allison North Stadium instead, to save the department over $10-$15 million. Moats said that the facility would be used by the club lacrosse team, football, Soccer, Track, Baseball and Softball. In the interview Moats said “We wouldn’t be gaining any traction, we’d just be catching up,” and We’re not trying to have the Taj Mahal, just an indoor facility.”[7] As of February of 2021 there hasn't been anymore news on the facility.

Retired numbersEdit

Missouri State has retired 4 jerseys which are memorialized on the second level of the stadium's West side.[8]

No. Player Position Career
C Arthur W. Briggs Coach 1912–1933
1 DeAndre Smith QB 1987–1990
27 Ray Haley RB 1947–1951
71 Rich Johanningmeier T


Conference championshipsEdit

Missouri State has won nine conference championships in their history. The Bears won 7 championships in the MIAA and 2 championships in the Gateway. The first conference championship was won in 1928 under coach Arthur Briggs. Jesse Branch is the only coach to win multiple conference championships. The 1928 and 1990 championships were shared titles.[9]

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1928† Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Arthur Briggs 7–1–1 3–0–1
1940 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Red Blair 10–0 5–0
1948† Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tommy O'Boyle 9–2 4–1
1951 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Fred Thomsen 6–3–1 4–0–1
1963 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Orville Pottenger 9–1 5–0
1966 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Jim Mentis 7–4 5–0
1978 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Rich Johanningmeier 8–3 6–0
1989 Gateway Football Conference Jesse Branch 12–1 9–0
1990† Gateway Football Conference Jesse Branch 8–3 6–2
2020 Missouri Valley Bobby Petrino 5-4 5-1
Total Conference Championships: 10
† Denotes co-champions

Postseason appearancesEdit

FCS playoffsEdit

Missouri State has appeared in the FCS playoffs twice. Under head coach Jesse Branch, the Bears made two straight trips in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 they drew a first round matchup with the Maine Black Bears. Missouri State won 38–35 and advanced to play the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in the Quarterfinals where they lost 55–25. Missouri State made it to the playoffs again in the 1990 season. They played at home against the Idaho Vandals and lost 41–35. Their all time record is 1–2.[10]

Season Coach Playoff Opponent Result
1989 Jesse Branch First Round
Stephen F. Austin
W 38–35
L 55–25
1990 Jesse Branch First Round Idaho L 35–41
2020 Bobby Petrino First Round North Dakota TBD

Bowl gamesEdit

Missouri State has appeared in four bowl games and are 0–4 all time.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1948 Tommy O'Boyle Missouri-Kansas Bowl Emporia State L 20–34
1963 Orville Pottenger Mineral Water Bowl Northern Illinois L 14–21
1966 Jim Mentis Mineral Water Bowl Adams State L 8–14
1989 Jesse Branch Pecan Bowl Stephen F. Austin L 25–55

Note: The 1989 Pecan Bowl was the Midwest Regional Championship (FCS Playoff Quarterfinal).


Record vs. MIAA teamsEdit


Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First Meeting
Central Missouri 33 42 5 .444 1912
Lincoln 10 5 0 .667 1970
Missouri S&T 27 29 3 .483 1935
Northwest Missouri 32 22 4 .586 1912
Southeast Missouri 46 28 0 .622 1912
Truman State 21 33 7 .402 1912
Totals 196 159 12 .550

Record vs. former MVFC teamsEdit

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First Meeting
Eastern Illinois 5 13 1 .289 1985
Western Kentucky 2 8 0 .200 2001
Totals 7 21 1 .259

Record vs. current MVFC teamsEdit

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage First Meeting
Illinois state 17 22 1 .438 1985
Indiana State 20 14 0 .588 1986
North Dakota 1 1 0 .500 2017†
North Dakota State 2 10 0 .167 2008
Northern Iowa 5 35 0 .125 1985
South Dakota 2 4 0 .333 2012
South Dakota State 1 11 0 .083 2008
Southern Illinois 20 22 0 .476 1985
Western Illinois 18 18 1 .500 1985
Youngstown State 5 15 0 .250 1997
Totals 91 152 2 .376

†note: North Dakota joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020. The Bears played them twice in non-conference and once in the FCS Playoffs.

Notable playersEdit

Current NFL playersEdit

Player Position 1st Year Draft Round Teams
Dylan Cole MLB 2017 Undrafted Houston Texans

Former NFL playersEdit

Player Position 1st Year Draft Round Teams
Charlie Mitchell C 1945 Chicago Bears
Henry May T 1951 17 Chicago Cardinals
Bob Dees T 1952 18 Los Angeles Rams
Paul Mullins T 1953 New York Giants
Ben Koeneman C 1957 San Francisco 49ers
Bill Kaczmarek T 1958 25 San Francisco 49ers
Glenn Sowder T 1961 Denver Broncos
Rich Johanningmeier T 1964 Houston Oilers
Pat Talburt DT 1966 16 Kansas City Chiefs
Sam McDowell T 1968 9 Miami Dolphins
Tom Mullen T 1974 2 New York Giants
Tom McIntyre FB 1974 Houston Oilers
Fred Tabron RB 1974 7 Minnesota Vikings
Bob Grana TE 1975 St. Louis Cardinals
Dennis Heim DT 1978 11 New York Giants
Mike Murphy LB 1979 6 Houston Oilers
Tim Ries DB 1979 7 Houston Oilers
Jan Stahle K 1979 Houston Oilers
Chris Sella LB 1979 New Orleans Saints
John Finders FB 1983 Dallas Cowboys
Darrin Newbold LB 1983 7 New York Jets
Mike Armentrout DB 1985 9 Kansas City Chiefs
Rick Fulton DT 1985 New York Giants
Keith Williams RB 1986 6 Atlanta Falcons
Brad Sellenrick T 1986 Green Bay Packers
Steve Ache LB 1987 Minnesota Vikings
Matt Soraghan LB 1988 Green Bay Packers
Clay Harbor TE 2006 4 Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Team 9 (XFL)

Future opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of February 6, 2020[11]

Week 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Week 1 at Oklahoma State (FBS) at Central Arkansas# at Montana at Tarleton State at Missouri
Week 2 Central Arkansas UT Martin at UT Martin at Murray State at Murray State at Kansas
Week 3 at Arkansas (FBS) Murray State Murray State
Week 4 South Dakota* South Dakota State* Dixie State Tarleton State at Kennesaw State
Week 5 at Illinois State* at North Dakota*
Week 6 Southern Illinois* at North Dakota* Indiana State*
Week 7 Indiana State* South Dakota State* Western Illinois* at Western Illinois*
Week 8 at North Dakota State* at Northern Iowa* South Dakota*
Week 9 North Dakota†* Western Illinois* Northern Iowa*
Week 10 at Southern Illinois* at South Dakota* at Southern Illinois*
Week 11 Northern Iowa* North Dakota* at Indiana State* at South Dakota State*
Week 12 at Dixie State at Indiana State* at Western Illinois* South Dakota State*

Note: † Homecoming, # Thursday night game, * Conference match-up


  1. ^ "Robert W. Plaster Stadium". Missouri State.
  2. ^ a b c "Media Guide" (PDF). s3.amazonaws.com. 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  3. ^ "2015 Missouri State Football Guide". Issuu.
  4. ^ "Our Colors". brand.missouristate.edu.
  5. ^ "Petrino Named Missouri State Head Football Coach". Missouri State.
  6. ^ https://www.news-leader.com/story/sports/college/msu/2018/07/30/missouri-state-wants-build-indoor-football-facility/854098002/
  7. ^ http://www.the-standard.org/sports/msu-multipurpose-indoor-facility-needs-more-funding/article_2cdbf8da-ff7a-11e9-b60f-ff09ba22681e.html
  8. ^ a b "2017 Media Guide (PDF)" (PDF). Missouri State.
  9. ^ "Missouri State Bears Year by Year Summary". Missouri State Bears. 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  10. ^ "FCSb Champ" (PDF). fs.ncaa.org. 2012. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  11. ^ "Future Missouri State Football Schedules". FBSchedules.com.

External linksEdit