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Did Auburn players ring cowbells during a Mississippi State game in the late 1960s?

cowbellspainting
Be there with bells on? It may have kind of happened before. (Photo: Ann Adams.)

All the talk about Auburn fans giving Mississippi State a taste of its own artificial medicine by bringing their own cowbells to the MSU game? Auburn fan Ann Adams says it’s nothing new, and she decided to have a little show and tell at work Friday morning to prove it.

Adams’ brother, Billy Erwin, played wide receiver and safety for Auburn in the late 1960s under legendary cowbell hater Shug Jordan, who led the charge to have cowbells banned from SEC football games as artificial noisemakers after the din from fans ringing the bells repeatedly delayed Auburn’s 1974 game against Mississippi State in Jackson. But Shug had had problems with the Bulldogs’ tradition for years. And his players apparently knew it.

“Some of the Auburn players knew that Shug was not happy about those Mississippi State cowbells so a few of the Auburn players decided to get some ‘Auburn cowbells’,” Adams says. “When Mississippi State came to play at Auburn, they could do the same thing against Mississippi State.”

One of those players was her brother, Billy Erwin. Erwin died of cancer nine years ago. Adams says her family kept the cowbells he had on the sideline for at least one Auburn-Mississippi State game (likely the 1969 game in Auburn, which Auburn won 52-13).

bell
(Photo: Tim Madden)

“I brought these Auburn cowbells in to work with me this morning to explain why I have kept these cowbells for so many years,” Adams says.

She says she plans on watching Saturday’s game on TV with the cowbells hanging around her neck.

Related: The University of Alabama tried to buy 1,000 cowbells from Mississippi State to bring to the 1974 Iron Bowl; Texas fans took them to annoy Auburn at the Gator Bowl.

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More MSU stuff:

* Former AU quarterback Phil Gargis talks about the 1974 Auburn-Mississippi State game that led to cowbell ban
* Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon were stoked to watch Auburn beat Mississippi State in 1986 ‘Saturday Night Live’ episode
* Mississippi State fan sues Auburn, SEC over confiscated cowbell; calls rule ‘unconstitutional’
* Shug: ‘The cowbells have no place in college football’
* That time Mississippi State accused Auburn punter Terry Daniel of filling footballs with helium
* Watch Terry Bowden’s press conference response to 1993 MSU allegations that Auburn inflated football with helium

 

About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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