The school's official mascot is the 49ers, in honor of the school's founding in 1949 and the fact that the city of Long Beach, like many other cities in California, prospered due to the 1850 gold rush. In athletics, not only is "49er" used as the mascot of Long Beach State Athletics, but we also use the term the "Beach." The reason for the secondary nicknames is because, Long Beach State is the only Division I school in the country with a "Beach" in its name. Since 1989, the baseball team has developed its nickname, the "Dirtbags," thanks to their gritty play and determination. The Athletics Department prefers to be known as Long Beach State or LBSU.
WHAT IS A DIRTBAG?
The nickname of Long Beach State 49er baseball team refers to the program's style of play and success against higher profile programs. The moniker was first coined for Coach Snow's first team in 1989 which was comprised of nearly all new players. Playing without a home field (LBCC, Cerritos JC and Blair Field), and practicing at a local all-dirt Pony Field, that team won its first 18 games and advanced to the 49ers first College World Series appearance. Then-infield coach Dave Malpass would take his infielders to the all-dirt field for their rigorous workout. The infielders would return to the regular practice field after their sessions covered in dirt. Thus the name Dirtbags was born. The name resurfaced again in 1993 when the 12-12 baseball team rallied to win 34 of their next 41 games and finish three outs short of the National Championship game. The Dirtbags were once again a fan favorite at the 1998 College World Series as the country received a lesson in Dirtbag baseball.
Originally, the school colors were brown and gold, however, in 1989 football coach George Allen decided to change his football uniforms. Instead of using brown, he substituted black and the colors black and gold were adopted. The colors officially changed in the spring of 2000, passed by a student referendum. Swimming and water polo teams have used black and gold for much longer, since it's a bit difficult to find brown swim caps in Southern California.
Even though its official name is California State University, Long Beach, in athletics the university is known as Long Beach State. The name of the University has changed several times over its short history. The school was originally known as Los Angeles-Orange County State College, but was soon known as Long Beach State College as the campus moved to its current location from the old Anaheim Street building. In the mid-60's. the name officially changed again to California State College at Long Beach, then in the 70's it changed again to its current official name, California State University, Long Beach.
Long Beach State (without the University) is the official name for reference to the athletics teams.
(from Desert Niner's Website)
"Pete", is the official mascot, though he didn't get a name until a student vote was taken sometime in the late 80's or early 90's. Before then, he was simply known as the "49er Man". He used to have a co-mascot, a donkey named "Nugget". During the 1990's there was a giant black & white Hacky-Sack sorta thing that said "go beach" on it, and in the mid-80's there was a girl wearing some boots, a Madonna-style faux-cowboy hat, and a giant foam rubber "49", at the football games... probably not members of the mascot hall of fame.
THE FIGHT SONG
(from "The Nugget" 1954-55 student handbook)
THE FIGHTING FORTY-NINERS
We're the Forty-Niners
Our Colors Way Up High Will Shine
Down the Field, We'll Never Yield
Like Men of '49 We'll Fight On
We're the Forty-Niners
Our Foe Will Know He's In a Fight
And Just Like the Days of Old...
We'll Fight, Brown and Gold!
The current Fight Song music is derived from the Trio to the World War One-era march, "Solid Men to the Front", by John Phillip Souza.
Alma Mater Hail to Thee
And We Pledge Our Loyalty
To the College of Our Choice
Thee We Serve With Hand and Voice
Now and in the Future Bright
Citadel of Truth and Right
Honor, Glory and Renown
All are Thine Dear Gold and Brown
Long Beach State Men's sports were established in the fall of 1950, and joined the California Collegiate Athletic Association, or CCAA, in 1956-57. In 1969, Long Beach State became one of the charter members of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, or PCAA, and remain in that conference, now known as the Big West, to this day. The baseball team played in the Southern California Baseball Association (SCBA) from 1977-85.
Women's teams have played in the ECCSCC (Extramural Coordinating Council of Southern California Colleges) from 1965-71, the SCWIAC (Southern California Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) from 1971-76, the WCAA (Western Collegiate Athletic Association) from 1976-85, and the PCAA/Big West since 1985.
Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field, two sports not sponsored by the Big West, play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, or MPSF. Previously, the Beach also participated in the MPSF for Men's Volleyball and Men's Water Polo. Both sports moved in 2016-17, with Men's Water Polo joining as a charter member of the Golden Coast Conference while Men's Volleyball was sponsored by the Big West for the first time.
OTHER UNIQUE TRADITIONS
The Big Brown Music Machine, or BBMM, is a world-class band (which returns annually for an alumni concert during basketball season). According to its website, there were no slackers, and no blasting: Good sound, clean execution, and great intonation made our signature sound, unmatched before or since by any other band on the West Coast.
Another tradition involves fans such to "remain standing until the basketball teams score it's first basket". It was a big tradition back when both basketball teams played at the Goldmine in the 1980's and 1990's, and continues in part today at the Walter Pyramid.
During the early 1970's, the team's signature song was from the musical, "Jesus Christ, Superstar." The song was played when Ed Ratleff, and others, entered the Gold Mine or the Long Beach Arena during warmups. It also played when the team broke following timeouts and then at the conclusion of the game. Most of the time the song was played by the student band, complete with drums and electric guitar.
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