In 1952, President R.C. Cook recruited Raymond Mannoni from the University of Topeka as band director and told him to build a good band with lots of majorettes. As a result, theband increased in size, and the precision dance twirl team, the Dixie Darlings, was formed.
In January 1954, Dr. Mannoni observed a young woman named Joyce Scimeca (now Joyce McHenry) performing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Joyce was a member of the Rangerettes, a precision dance team at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. In June 1954, Dr. Mannoni contacted Joyce and asked if she would like to come to then Mississippi Southern College and help begin a dance team similar to the Rangerettes. After auditioning for Dr. Mannoni, Joyce was offered a full scholarship.
Shortly after practice sessions for the group began, Dr. Mannoni called the girls together and asked them to suggest a name for the new group. Dixie Dancers was suggested by one member, and Joyce Scimeca suggested Dixie Darlings. The DD's original uniform was a black velvet top and shorts. The top featured gold braid over a scooped neck, and a gold tassel adorned each side of the shorts. The girls wore white gloves and white boots with black fringe.
Since their inception nearly half a century ago, the Dixie Darlings have represented the spirit and tradition of Southern Miss athletics.