Emporia State Hornets

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Emporia State Hornets
and Lady Hornets
University Emporia State University
Conference MIAA
NCAA Division II
Athletic director Kent Weiser
Location Emporia, KS
Varsity teams 13
Football stadium Jones Field at Welch Stadium
Basketball arena Slaymaker Court at White Auditorium
Baseball stadium Glennen Field at Trusler Sports Complex
Mascot Corky the Hornet
Nickname Hornets
Fight song "Fight On Emporia!"
     Old Gold       Black
Website www.esuhornets.com
Emporia State's previous secondary logo used until 2014

The Emporia State Hornets and Lady Hornets are the sports teams of Emporia State University located in Emporia, Kansas. They participate in the NCAA's Division II and in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA).[1]

History and overview[edit]

In the 1930s, the Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC) athletic teams were known as the "Yaps". Many people were not fond of the name, especially coach Vic Trusler. Trusler suggested to the Emporia Gazette's Cecil Carle that the university's athletic teams should be called the "Yellow Jackets". However, the name changed to "Hornets" because of the lack of newspaper space.[2]

In 1933, the KSTC had a student contest where students and staff could design a mascot for the college. Paul Edwards, who graduated in 1937 from KSTC, designed Corky. Many students sent in their drawings of a mascot, but they chose Edwards' Corky, a "human-like" hornet. Corky was published in The Bulletin, the student newspaper for Emporia State University.[2]


  • ESU Athletics has had four top four finishes since 2008 (Women's Basketball, 1st in 2010; Baseball, 2nd in 2009; Softball, 2nd in 2008; Men's Track and Field, 4th in 2011).[3]
  • ESU has produced 17 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans since 2000 to rank in the top 25 nationally.[3]
  • In 2003-04, ESU became the first school to have their football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and softball teams all advance to NCAA play in the same school year.[3]
  • ESU is the only school in the MIAA to have both their baseball and softball teams earn NCAA Tournament berths in each of the last nine years.[3]
  • ESU has averaged over 100,000 fans a year at home events over the last eight years.[3]
  • ESU has placed in the top 50 out of over 300 Division II schools nationally in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup for 12 straight years with a high of 4th in 2013–14.[4]

Conference history[edit]

Emporia State has been in six conferences since it's athletics beginnings in 1894.[5]

Conference Years
Kansas Conference 1893–1927
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 1927–1968
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 1968–1972
Great Plains Athletic Conference 1972–1976
Central States Intercollegiate Conference 1976–1991
Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association 1991–present

National championship games[edit]



Women's basketball








Women's basketball





The baseball team is currently coached by Bob Fornelli. The baseball team played in the national championship game in 2009 and they were MIAA conference champions in 2011. They've played in 9 straight regional tournaments. The Hornets have been pre-season ranked top 10 since 2009.[6]

Women's basketball[edit]

The Lady Hornets basketball team is currently coach by Jory Collins. He was the assistant coach when the basketball team won the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championship, defeating the Fort Lewis College (Colorado) Skyhawks.[7] The team was led by Brandon Schneider, who is now the head coach at Stephen F. Austin.[8]

In 1998, Emporia State's women's basketball team played in the NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Championship. The head coach for that team was Cindy Stein, who left to coach at the University of Missouri.


The current football coach is Garin Higgins. The current head football coach at Emporia State is Garin Higgins, who has held the position since 2007. Higgins was an ESU quarterback from 1987-1990.[9] Past football coaches include Homer Woodson Hargiss, Jerry Kill, and Harold Elliott.


The Lady Hornets are currently coached by Julie LeMaire. The softball team played for the national championship in 2006 and 2008.[10]

Current head coaches[edit]

Currently there are 10 head coaches in the athletics program.[11]

Sport Name Season
Baseball Bob Fornelli 2004
M. Basketball Shaun Vandiver 2011
W. Basketball Jory Collins 2010
Cross Country Eric Wellman 2011
Football Garin Higgins 2007
Soccer Bryan Sailer 2011
Softball Julie LeMaire 2012
Tennis John Cayton 2006
Track & Field Eric Blocker 2011
Volleyball Bing Xu 2005


Corky the Hornet.png
Main article: Corky the Hornet

The official mascot of Emporia State Athletic teams is Corky, designed by Paul Edwards (1915— ), a former Disney artist[12]


Hornets athletics have four facilities they play at, three of which they own.

  • Jones Field at Francis G. Welch Stadium – The football team playcompetes on Jones Field at Francis G. Welch Stadium, located on the campus.[13] They have played at Welch Stadium since 1937. The stadium is named after Francis G. Welch, who coached at the Kansas State Teachers College from 1928–42, and again from 1946–1954.[13] Zola Witten Track is also in the facility, used by the track teams.
  • William L. White Civic Auditorium – The Hornet basketball teams and volleyball team compete on Slaymaker Court at William Lindsay White Civic Auditorium.[14] They have played there since it opened in 1940. It is named after William Lindsay White, son of William Allen White.[15] It is owned and operated by the City of Emporia.[15]
  • Trusler Sports Complex – The baseball and softball teams compete at Trusler Sports Complex.[16] The complex is made up of four fields: Glennen Field, Turnbull Field, Cannon Field, and Thomas Field.[16] The baseball team competes on Glennen Field, named after Dr. Robert E. Glennen, thirteenth president of Emporia State University. The softball team competes on Turnbull Field, named after J. Michael Turnbull, president of the Trusler Foundation.[16]
  • Milton Tennis Courts – The Hornet tennis teams compete on the George Milton Tennis Courts. George Milton was the longtime tennis coach for Emporia State, having served from 1966–99.[17]


Fight song[edit]

Fight On, Emporia! is the official fight song for Emporia State University.[18] The lyrics are listed below, as well as the mp3 version of the song.

Fight On, Emporia!


Fight on, Emporia, for the right, Emporia!
Unfold your black and gold,
Hold your banner high.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Sing to Emporia, Alma Mater dear.
Might with right will always win the fight--
To victory, Emporia!

Written by Alfred Thompson (BME '34), student at Kansas State Teachers College.[18]

Alma mater[edit]

Shall we exalt our University
True to our forebears and posterity?
Our finest efforts we shall yield
In classroom, concert, lab and field-
And cheers for ESU
And cheers for ESU.

Shall we remember in our future years
Bold shouts of victory or sentimental tears?
Then shall the memories abound
We made these hallowed halls resound-
With cheers for ESU
With cheers for ESU.

Words by Tom Isern Music by Joseph Ott[19]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]