Mississippi Valley State is located near the town of Itta Bena, Miss., which has a population of 2,049. The town's name is derived from the Choctaw Native American phrase iti bina, which means "forest camp." The school's colors are forest green.
With an enrollment of 2,502, Mississippi Valley State was created in 1946 when the state Legislature anticipated that legal segregation of public education was in danger. Therefore, it created the institution hoping to draw African-American applicants who might have otherwise applied to attend Mississippi's white-only institutions back then. In 1964, Mississippi Vocational College was renamed Mississippi Valley State College.
Notable alumni include two pro football Hall of Famers in Jerry Rice, a 1985 graduate who became a standout wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, and Deacon Jones, a 1960 graduate who became a standout defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams.
In 1986, Mississippi Valley State's men's basketball team received a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Delta Devils almost became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed, falling to Duke 85-78 in the first round. They led at halftime 40-37.
Mississippi Valley State's football team plays its home games in the 10,000-seat Rice-Totten Stadium. It is named after former Delta Devils football players Jerry Rice, a receiver who set numerous I-AA records in the 1980s and Willie Totten, who played for the Delta Devils and became their head coach.