Emporia State Hornets

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Emporia State Hornets
University Emporia State University
Conference MIAA
NCAA Division II
Athletic director Kent Weiser
Location Emporia, Kansas
Varsity teams 15
Football stadium Francis G. Welch Stadium
Basketball arena William L. White Auditorium
Baseball stadium Trusler Sports Complex
Softball stadium Trusler Sports Complex
Mascot Corky the Hornet
Nickname Hornets
Fight song "Fight On Emporia!"
Colors Black and Gold[1]
Website www.esuhornets.com
ESU Hornets previous secondary logo.png

The Emporia State Hornets are the athletic teams that represent Emporia State University (ESU). The women's basketball and softball teams use the name Lady Hornets. The university's athletic program fields 15 varsity teams in 11 sports all of whom have combined to win 50 conference championships as well as three national championships (1 NAIA, 1 AIAW and 1 NCAA).[2] Corky the Hornet serves as the mascot representing the teams, and the school colors are black and gold. Emporia State participates in the NCAA Division II and has been a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) since 1991.[3]

The university's athletic director is Kent Weiser. The Hornet football team, which has been coached by Garin Higgins since 2007, has an all-time record of 510–524–43 (.494). Jory Collins was named head coach of the Lady Hornets basketball program in 2010 following the resignation of Brandon Schneider, who left to be head coach of Stephen F. Austin after winning the 2010 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship. The men's basketball team is currently coached by Shaun Vandiver, a former NBA First Round Draft Pick.[4]

History and overview[edit]

Emporia State Athletic Directors
Tenure Athletic Director
1920–1928 Homer Woodson Hargiss
1928–1962 Fran Welch
1962–1970 Joe Pease
1970–1971 Norris Patterson
1971–1979 Bill Tidwell
1979–1999 Bill Quayle
1999–present Kent Weiser

In 1923 when the Emporia State was named to the Kansas State Teachers College, the athletic teams were known as the "Yaps". Many people were not fond of the name, most notably Emporia State coach, Vic Trusler.[5] Trusler suggested to Cecil Carle of the Emporia Gazette that the university's athletic teams should be called the "Yellow Jackets". However, the name changed to "Hornets" due to the lack of newspaper space.[5]


Since 2008, Emporia State has had four top four finishes in the nation. The Lady Hornets basketball team won the 2010 NCAA Div. II National Championship game against Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2009, the baseball team were national runners up, as were the Lady Hornet softball team. In 2011, the men's track & field team won took 4th place in the NCAA Div. II National Track Championships.[6]

The 2003–04 athletic season was a record season for ESU. 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.[7] ESU has averaged over 100,000 fans a year at home events over the last eight years.[7]

Since 2002, Emporia State 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.[8]

Conference history[edit]

Emporia State has been a member of six conferences and two stints as an independent, since its athletics beginnings in 1893.[9]

Emporia State University began its athletic life as a member of the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1893 to 1928.[10] Emporia State, along with other schools from the conference, withdrew from the KIAC and formed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1928, where it stayed as a member for thirty-nine years.[11] After competing the CIAC for almost four decades, Emporia State left the CIAC and joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1967.[12] In 1972, the RMAC split into two conferences, one keeping the current name and the other to be called Great Plains Athletic Conference, and four years later formed the Central States Intercollegiate Conference.[13] In 1989, the CSIC disbanded and Emporia State became an Independent.[14] In 1991, Emporia State became a NCAA Division II member and joined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, where it remains a member today.[15]

Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association NAIA independent schools Central States Intercollegiate Conference Great Plains Athletic Conference (NCAA) Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference


Sports at Emporia State
Men's Women's
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross County
Cross County Soccer
Football Softball
Tennis Tennis
Track & Field Track & Field


The Hornets baseball team played its first game in 1978.[16] The team has five conference championships, and two NCAA Division II World Series appearance with a 2009 runner-up.[17] The team had also made five appearances in the NAIA World Series, winning the 1978 World Series.[16] Currently the team is coached by Bob Fornelli, who is 523–229 (.695) while at Emporia State.[18]

Men's basketball[edit]

The Hornets basketball team is currently coached by Shaun Vandiver, a former NBA First Round Draft Pick.[4] The program was founded in 1901, thirty-eight years after the university was founded.[19] For the last 115 years, the program has compiled a record of 1,380–1,126 (.551). Some notable coaches are Fred Honhart, George Crispin, Homer Woodson Hargiss, and A.A. Schabinger.

Women's basketball[edit]

2010 National Championship banner hanging in White Auditorium

Of its varsity sports, Emporia States's women's basketball team has been the only one to claim a national title. The Lady Hornets, who was led by player Alli Volkens and head coach Brandon Schneider, won the 2010 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship, defeating the Fort Lewis College (Colorado) Skyhawks.[20]

The Lady Hornets basketball team is currently coach by Jory Collins, who was the assistant coach on the team won the National Championship. Collins replaced Brandon Schneider as head coach when he resigned to take the head coach position at Stephen F. Austin.[21]

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.[22]

Cross country and track & field[edit]

The men's and women's cross country teams are currently coached by Eric Wellman.[23] With the men's program starting in 1923 and the women's program in 1976, the women's team has won one MIAA conference championship, which was in 1994. The cross country teams run their home meets at Jones Park, in Northeast Emporia.[24]

The men's and women's track and field teams are currently coached by Steven Blocker.[25] Since joining the MIAA in 1991, the women's team has won five MIAA outdoor championships and two indoor championships while the men's team has won two MIAA conference outdoor championships.[24] The track teams host meets on the Zola Witten Track at Francis G. Welch Stadium.[26]


The Hornets football team, is currently coached by former Hornet quarterback Garin Higgins, who played from 1987–1990.[27][28] Since joining the MIAA in 1991, the Hornets have gone 119–118 in conference play.[29] The Hornets have also participated in five post-season bowls in which three of those were wins.[30] Past football coaches include Homer Woodson Hargiss, Jerry Kill, and Harold Elliott.


Starting in 2001, the women's soccer program is the newest intercollegiate sport at Emporia State.[31] The team is currently coached by Bryan Sailer, who is in his fifth season.[32] As the fifth coach since 2001, Sailer has a record of 23–36–15 (.412). The soccer games are either played on the ESU soccer pitch or at Emporia High School.


The Lady Hornets softball team played its first game by 1971,[33] seven years before the baseball team.[34] The team is currently coached by April Huddleston, who took over the program on October 19, 2015.[35][36] The softball team appeared in three Women's College World Series in 1971, 1972 and 1979[33] and also won the first AIAW Division II national championship in 1980. Emporia State also played for the national championship in 2006 and 2008.[34]


The men's and women's tennis teams compete on the George Milton Tennis Courts, named after the longtime tennis coach for Emporia State, having served from 1966–99, George Milton.[37] With the men's program starting in 1966 and the women's program 10 years later, the tennis teams have been successful. Since joining the MIAA, the women's team has won two conference championships in 2005 and 2007, and have participated in the NCAA tournament four years, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2007.[38] The men's team has advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2007 and 2008. The team's are currently coached by John Cayton, who is in his tenth season. His record for the women's team is 126–58 (.685), and the men's record is 75–85 (.469).[39]


Since 1973, the Hornets volleyball team has combined a total record of 973–601.[40] Since joining the MIAA in 1991, the Hornets have won one conference championship in 2008, and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The Hornets are coached by Bing Xu, who has been at Emporia State since 2005, and has a combined record of 228–98 (.699).[41]



The Silent Joe Bell Tower

Francis G. Welch Stadium serves as home to the Hornets football team.[42] The stadium, who is named for long-time Emporia State coach and athletic director Fran Welch, opened in 1947 and since then has gone under a few renovations. In 1994, the east and west side concession areas, restroom facilities, and entrances were renovated, a new scoreboard was hoisted into place at the south end of the stadium and a new landscaped fence was erected.[42] In 1997, the Hutchinson Family Pavilion, a three-tiered facility which has enclosed theatre seating on the first floor, a president's box and four sky-boxes on the second floor, and a game-day management and media center on the third floor was built.[42] The current seating capacity is 10,000. Zola Witten Track is also in the facility, used by the track teams.

Since 1940, home basketball games have been played at William L. White Auditorium, a 5,000-seat arena which is named after William Lindsay White, son of William Allen White.[43] In addition to serving as home to the men's and women's basketball teams, the auditorium is used by the Hornets volleyball team since the program started in 1973.[44] In 2008, WLW Civic Auditorium received an upgrade with a new scoreboard and video board, as well as a new color scheme on the arena floor and throughout the entire building.[43]

Trusler Sports Complex is home to the baseball and softball teams.[45] The baseball team competes on Glennen Field, named after Dr. Robert E. Glennen, thirteenth president of Emporia State University. In 2009, the field was renovated with a new artificial turf that replaced the infield on Glennen Field. The Lady Hornets compete on Turnbull Field, which is named in honor of J. Michael Turnbull, president and trustee of the Trusler Foundation.[45]

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 to 1999.[37]

Facility Name Teams Capacity Opened
Trusler Sports Complex Baseball, softball 500/450 1992
William L. White Auditorium Basketball, volleyball 5,000 1941
Francis G. Welch Stadium Football, track 7,000 1937
Hornet Pitch Soccer 500 2009
George Milton Tennis Courts Tennis 100 1966


School colors[edit]

Black Gold

Emporia State's official school colors are black and gold.[46] They have been the colors since the school was founded in 1863, and until recently, the gold was Old gold.[47]


Corky the Hornet at an Emporia State football game.
Main article: Corky the Hornet

In 1933, the Teachers College had a student contest where students and staff could design a mascot for the college. Sophomore Paul Edwards, who graduated in 1937, designed Corky. Although hundreds of drawings were submitted, Edwards' Corky, a "human-like" hornet was selected. Corky was published in The Bulletin, the student newspaper for Emporia State University.[5]


Fight On, Emporia! is the official fight song for Emporia State University.[48] The lyrics for the fight song were written by written by Alfred Thompson (BME '34), student at Kansas State Teachers College.[48] Tom Isern wrote the music for ESU's alma mater and the music was composed by Joseph Ott.[49][50]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Color - Marketing & Media Relations - Emporia State University". Retrieved 2016-01-27. 
  2. ^ "ESU at NCAA.com". NCAA.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Members: Emporia State University". 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Vandiver joins ESU". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Legend of Corky the Hornet". 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  6. ^ "ESU Athletics Overview". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b 100,000 fans – Page 24
  8. ^ "ESU Women's basketball ranked 4th in Country among attendance". Emporia State University. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  9. ^ ESU Media Guide – History on page 85
  10. ^ "Yearbook of the National Collegiate Athletic Association – National Collegiate Athletic Association – Google Books". Books.google.com. 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  11. ^ "Bylaws (Introduction)" (PDF). Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 1988–90 Yearbook
  13. ^ "Central States Intercollegiate Conference – NCAA History". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  14. ^ Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 1990–91 Yearbook
  15. ^ "Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association – Conference History". Themiaa.com. Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  16. ^ a b Baseball History – Page 42
  17. ^ "2009 World Series (NCAA Div. II)". Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Bob Fornelli". Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  19. ^ 2011 MBB Media Guide page 46
  20. ^ Lady Hornets Celebrate, Emporia Gazette, 29 March 2010.
  21. ^ Ken Corbitt, April 27, 2010, The Topeka Capital Journal, Collins new head Hornet: Sixth coach in program history started as student assistant 10 years ago, Accessed July 2, 2014, "...Collins landed a position as a student assistant, and over the past decade worked his way up the ladder. ..."
  22. ^ "Stein leaves for MU". Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Emporia State University Athletics – Staff Directory". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  24. ^ a b Cross Country and Track & Field Media Guide
  25. ^ "Emporia State University Athletics – Staff Directory". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  26. ^ Zola Witten Track at Fran Welch Stadium, page 54
  27. ^ "Higgins at the Helm". Emporia Gazette. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  28. ^ "Four more MIAA teams set to open 2007 campaign this week". Aug 28, 2007. Retrieved Jan 23, 2011. 
  29. ^ "2015 Missouri Western Game Notes" (PDF) (Press release). Pittsburg State Athletics. 2015-10-13. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  30. ^ MIAA History
  31. ^ "Emporia State University". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  32. ^ "Emporia State University Athletics – 2014 Women's Soccer Coaching Staff". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  33. ^ a b Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History of the Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4. 
  34. ^ a b Softball since 1974
  35. ^ "Former Hornet April Huddleston Named Tenth Emporia State Softball Coach". Emporia State University Athletics. 2015-10-19. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  36. ^ Capital Journal, The (2015-10-19). "Emporia State tabs Huddleston as softball coach". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  37. ^ a b "George Milton Tennis Courts". Emporia State University. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  38. ^ "ESU women's tennis team not backing down from NCAA matchup with No. 1 BYU-Hawaii". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  39. ^ "Emporia State University Athletics – 2014–15 Women's Tennis Coaching Staff". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  40. ^ Volleyball Media guide, page 20
  41. ^ "Emporia State University Athletics – Staff Directory". Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  42. ^ a b c "Francis G. Welch Stadium". Emporia State University. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  43. ^ a b "WLW Civic Auditorium". Emporia State University. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  44. ^ ESU Volleyball at WLW Auditorium
  45. ^ a b "Trusler Sports Complex". Emporia State University. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  46. ^ "Emporia State Colors: Marketing & Media Relations". Emporia.edu. Emporia State University. Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  47. ^ "2013 ESU Football Media Guide" (PDF). 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  48. ^ a b "ESU Fight Song". 
  49. ^ "ESU Alma Mater". 
  50. ^ Fight On, Emporia!
  51. ^ "Collins Head Coach at ESU". CJOnline.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  52. ^ "Garin Higgins". Retrieved 13 October 2014. 

External links[edit]