Kent State Golden Flashes
|Kent State Golden Flashes|
|University||Kent State University|
|NCAA||Division I (Bowl Subdivision)|
|Athletic director||Joel Nielsen|
|Varsity teams||16 (7 men's, 9 women's)|
|Football stadium||Dix Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center|
|Baseball stadium||Schoonover Stadium|
|Mascot||Flash the Golden Eagle|
|Fight song||"Fight on for KSU"|
Navy blue Gold
The intercollegiate athletic teams at Kent State University are known as the Golden Flashes or simply as the Flashes. The university fields sixteen varsity athletic teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I level with football competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Kent State is a full member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and has been part of the MAC East division since it was created in 1998. Official school colors are Kent State Blue and Kent State Gold. Joel Nielsen is athletic director, a position he has held since May 1, 2010.
Athletic events were held during the very first semester at Kent State in late 1913, with several intramural teams for female students and a limited number of opportunities for male students. Early men's athletic events, in basketball and baseball, were played against local high school, church, and company teams. The first intercollegiate athletic event, a men's basketball game, was held in January 1915 and the baseball team held their first intercollegiate game later that year. A dedicated athletic field was built around 1920 and the school's first gymnasium opened in 1925. Football also debuted as a sport in 1920, followed by wrestling, men's tennis, men's gymnastics, and men's swimming. From 1932–1951, Kent State competed as a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference before joining the Mid-American Conference in 1951. The school's first permanent football stadium and a new basketball gym opened in 1950.
Although women's intramural athletics had been part of the university since it was first established, the first women's intercollegiate athletic team was not founded until 1959 when the women's gymnastics team was established, the first women's collegiate gymnastics team in the U.S. Additional women's sports, including swimming, field hockey, basketball, and volleyball, were added in the mid-1970s following the passage and implementation of Title IX. Budget constraints and other factors led to the university dropping swimming, tennis, ice hockey, and men's soccer during the 1980s and 1990s, with ice hockey becoming a club-level sport in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I as part of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL). The most recent changes occurred in the late 1990s when women's golf and women's soccer were added as varsity sports.
Several Kent State athletic teams have enjoyed success in the Mid-American Conference and at the national level over the years and the university has produced individual national champions in both wrestling and track and field. Both the men's and women's golf teams have been the most successful in MAC play having won the most conference titles in MAC history through 2015. The men's golf team has also finished as high as 5th nationally in 2012 to go with 6th and 9th place finishes. Additionally, the men's basketball team made a notable run to the Elite Eight in 2002, the baseball team advanced to the College World Series in 2012, and the softball team qualified for the Women's College World Series in 1990. Kent State also has had high national finishes from the men's indoor and outdoor track and field teams, women's gymnastics, and wrestling. A number of Golden Flashes alumni have gone on to play and coach in both college and major professional sports, such as Jack Lambert, Antonio Gates, Nick Saban, Lou Holtz, Thurmon Munson, and Emmanuel Burriss.
Athletics at Kent State began shortly after the school was first organized in 1910 and the first classes held in 1912. The school's first sporting event was a men's basketball game in 1913 against Kent High School and the following spring (1914) the baseball team was organized, known as the "Normal Nine". The football team followed in 1920 and held their first game on October 30, a 6-0 loss to Ashland College. Around this same time, the teams became known as the "Silver Foxes" because then-president John Edward McGilvrey raised silver foxes on his farm east of campus. After McGilvrey's controversial firing in 1926, the new administration held a contest to choose a different team name and "Golden Flashes" was chosen, though no significance was included in the name. The first use of "Golden Flashes" occurred in 1927 after it was approved by the student body and faculty athletic committee. The school colors are officially defined as "Kent State blue" and "Kent State gold", which are shades of Navy blue and gold. The original school colors, as chosen by the school's first president John Edward McGilvrey, were orange and blue, believed to have been inspired by the school colors for the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where McGilvrey had been a professor. Gold was also used with blue during the 1920s. A committee formally set the colors as royal blue and gold in 1925. Kent State was a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference from 1932–1951 and joined the Mid-American Conference in 1951.
Although no Kent State team has won a national title in any sport, several Golden Flashes teams have placed highly in NCAA national tournaments. Notable national finishes include:
- Men's basketball: tie-5th (2002)
- Men's golf: 9th (2000); 6th (2008); tie-5th (2012)
- Men's indoor track and field: 5th (1972), 2nd (1973)
- Men's outdoor track and field: 6th (1972 and 1973)
- Baseball: tie-5th (2012) (CWS Appearance)
- Gymnastics:12th (2011) 1st MAC Team to ever qualify for the National Championships
- Softball: 7th (1990)
- Wrestling: 5th (1941 and 1942)
- Co-ed cheerleading: 8th (2008); 9th (2009)
Kent State sponsors 16 athletic teams at the NCAA Division I level, seven men's teams and nine women's. All teams compete in the Mid-American Conference. The academic year is divided into three seasons, with the fall sports season typically lasting from August into December, the winter sports season going from late November into March, and the spring sports season beginning in early March and ending in June. Fall sports are football, women's field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's cross country. During the winter sports season, Kent State has men's and women's basketball, women's gymnastics, wrestling, and men's and women's indoor track & field. The spring sports season features men's and women's golf, baseball, softball, and men's and women's outdoor track & field. Both men's and women's golf compete in tournaments around the country in both the fall and spring seasons, with MAC and NCAA championship play held in the spring season.
The baseball team is Kent State's second oldest sport, though it is the school's oldest intercollegiate team. Formed in 1914, they were known originally as the "Normal Nine" as the school was originally known as Kent State Normal School. The team has enjoyed significant success both in the Mid-American Conference and on the national level and has sent several players to the major leagues over the years. The team's home field is Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium, opened in 2005 on the site of the team's previous home, Gene Michael Field. The coach is Jeff Duncan, who was hired as coach after the 2013 season. Through the 2014 season, the team has eight MAC East titles, 12 MAC overall titles, 11 MAC tournament titles, and has 13 NCAA tournament appearances. In 2012, the team made its first appearances in both the Super Regional round of the NCAA baseball tournament and the College World Series.
- MAC East division titles: 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
- MAC overall titles: 1964, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012
- MAC tournament titles: 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
- NCAA Tournament appearances: 1964, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
- College World Series appearances: 2012
The men's basketball team, which began play in 1913 and intercollegiate competition in 1914, plays in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center and is Kent State's oldest sport and second-oldest intercollegiate team. After decades of near anonymity, since 1998 the team has been one of the most consistent in the Mid-American Conference with a league record ten straight twenty-win seasons from the 1998–99 season through the 2007–08 season (the previous record was five straight). Kent State was one of only eight NCAA Division I men's basketball programs in the United States to have ten consecutive seasons with twenty or more wins. Kent State also holds the MAC record for consecutive seasons with double-digit conference wins, also for ten consecutive seasons (the previous record was eight straight), and in 2002 finished 17–1 in conference play, setting a MAC record for conference wins in a season. The Flashes amassed thirty victories in the 2001–02 season which culminated in a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight. In the tournament they defeated seventh-seeded Oklahoma State, second-seeded Alabama, and third-seeded Pitt. One of the stars on this team, power forward Antonio Gates, went on to become a superstar tight end with the San Diego Chargers. Kent State has made ten MAC tournament title game appearances (second most in conference history) and has won five (second most), along with three regular-season MAC overall titles and six MAC East titles.
- MAC East division titles: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011
- MAC overall titles: 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011
- MAC Tournament titles: 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008
- NCAA Tournament appearances: 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008
- NIT appearances: 1985, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010
The women's basketball team, which began play during the 1975-1976 season, also plays home games at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center. Currently, they are coached by Bob Lindsay, who has been with Kent State for 21 seasons as of 2009-2010. They have seven MAC East titles, six MAC overall titles, and four MAC tournament titles. In addition, they have five NCAA tournament appearances, the most recent being in 2002, and one WNIT appearance. Kent State has appeared in eleven MAC Tournament championship games (tied for most appearances with Toldeo), including seven in a row from 1996-2002. In fact, the 1996-2001 MAC title games all featured Kent State vs. Toledo. In 1998, Kent State became one of only two MAC schools (Bowling Green being the other) to complete the regular season and tournament with a perfect record, going 18-0 in the regular season and winning the conference tournament. Prior to the start of the 2009-2010 season, Kent State had an overall record of 535-387 and a MAC record of 280-179.
- MAC East division titles: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
- MAC overall titles: 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002
- MAC Tournament titles: 1981, 1998, 2000, 2002
- NCAA Tournament appearances: 1982, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002
- WNIT appearances: 2004
The field hockey team plays its home matches at Murphy-Mellis Field, which opened in 2005 and is adjacent to Dix Stadium. The Flashes Field Hockey team has won ten MAC titles, with the most recent in 2009, and has eight MAC tournament titles and NCAA appearances, the most recent being in 2008. In 2001, Kent State hosted the NCAA Division I national championship at Dix Stadium, where they played their home games from 1997-2004.
- MAC titles: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
- MAC tournament titles: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008
- NCAA tournament appearances: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008
The Golden Flashes football team plays in the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Home games are played at Dix Stadium on the far eastern edge of the Kent State campus. Since 2012, the head coach is Paul Haynes. Behind Dix Stadium are practice fields, as well as the Kent State Field House, which contains a full indoor football field.
Kent State has three post-season bowl appearances: a 1954 trip to the now-defunct Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Indiana, where they lost to the Delaware Blue Hens 19-7, a 1972 bid to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida, where they lost to Tampa 21-18, and the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Although the team has not enjoyed many winning seasons, Kent State has sent a fair amount of players to the ranks of the National Football League as well as in other areas of college football. Don James coached the team from 1971-1974 during the era which also saw future NFL great Jack Lambert and current Alabama head coach Nick Saban playing for the Golden Flashes and Kent State's only Mid-American Conference championship in 1972 and their most recent bowl appearance. NFL players as of 2011 who played football at Kent State include Joshua Cribbs of the New York Jets, Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots, and James Harrison of the Cincinnati Bengals. In addition, Antonio Gates, who played for the men's basketball team, plays for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. Other notable football alumni and former coaches include current ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz, former Houston Texans head coach and current Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers (graduate assistant at Kent State), former Toronto Argonauts standout Jim Corrigall (who also served as head coach at KSU) and Gary Pinkel, head coach of the Missouri Tigers.
- MAC overall titles: 1972
- MAC East Division titles: 2012
- Bowl appearances: 1954, 1972, 2012
The men's golf team has had success both in the Mid-American Conference and at the national level, winning 22 MAC titles and making 25 trips to the NCAA level competition, including 14 trips to the championship round and three regional championships. They practice at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in nearby Ravenna, where they occasionally host matches, and the Kent State Golf Course, located just east of campus in Franklin Township. The program has produced several pro-golfers and in 2003, former Golden Flashes standout Ben Curtis won the British Open in what ABC commentator Mike Tirico called "one of the most amazing stories in the history of the Open Championship" and the "all-time Cinderella story." The team is coached by Herb Page, a Kent State alum who has been head coach since 1978. He has led the Flashes to 19 of their 22 MAC titles, their three regional titles, and 23 of their 25 trips to NCAA competition. In 2008, he coached Kent State to its highest finish ever at the national level, finishing 6th in the country at the NCAA championship as well as a ninth-place NCAA finish in 2000. Page has been named MAC Coach of the Year fifteen times and NCAA district IV Coach of the Year eight times.
In the summer of 2007, Kent State opened the Ferrara and Page Golf Training and Learning Center located at the southern edge of the Kent State Golf Course. The facility includes a 350-yard outdoor practice range, outdoor practice tees, and outdoor short-game practice areas as well as an indoor putting and chipping area, a video analysis room, and a Science and Motion Putt lab. In addition, the rear of the facility features heated stalls which allow team members to access the driving range even during the winter months to provide year-round training for both the men's and women's teams.
- Ohio Athletic Conference titles: 1934, 1949, 1950
- MAC titles: 1954^, 1968, 1977, 1984, 1992^, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- NCAA appearances: 1954*, 1977*, 1984*, 1987, 1989, 1990*, 1991, 1992*, 1993*, 1994*, 1995*, 1996, 1998*, 1999, 2000*, 2001*, 2003, 2004*, 2005, 2006, 2008*, 2009, 2010*, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- NCAA regional titles: 1993, 2001, 2010
- *= advanced to championship round
The women's golf team, founded in the fall of 1998, has enjoyed success from its beginning. Every year of the program's existence it has won the Mid-American Conference title and is so far the only school to win the MAC's women's golf championship, which began in April 1999. Through 2015, they have advanced to NCAA play in the last 15 seasons, reaching the championship round in 4 of them. 2001 saw the Flashes finish fifteenth in the country, their highest finish to date, while 2008 saw the Flashes win two regular-season tournaments, gain a national ranking of thirteenth, and win their tenth consecutive MAC title by 51 strokes. In 2015, the team won their 17th-consecutive MAC Championship, tying the conference record for most consecutive titles in any sport.
Along with the men's team, they practice at Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ravenna, and the Kent State Golf Course and adjacent Ferrara and Page Golf Training and Learning Center in Franklin Township. The team is coached by Greg Robertson, who began his tenure in June 2013. He replaced Mike Morrow, who had coached the team from its inception. In addition to the 15 MAC titles and 13 NCAA appearances, Morrow also coached the team to 27 titles at various regular-season tournaments.
- MAC titles: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- NCAA appearances: 2001*, 2002, 2003*, 2004, 2005, 2006*, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010*, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- *= advanced to championship round
First developed in 1959, the Kent State women's gymnastics team was the first women's gymnastics team at the collegiate level. They began intercollegiate competition in 1964 and Mid-American Conference competition in 1981 and have enjoyed consistent success throughout their existence, which includes 11 Mid-American Conference meet championships and 14 regular-season titles. Home meets are held in the MAC Center and the team practices in the MAC Gymnastics Center, an annex on the north side of the building which opened in 1979. The current coach is Brice Biggin, a Kent State alum of the men's gymnastics team who has been coach since 1992. Through the 2013 regular season, he has a record of 342-209 at Kent State.
- Ohio state championships*: 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978
- MAC regular-season titles: 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013
- MAC championships: 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2015
The softball team plays its home games at the Diamond at Dix, adjacent to Dix Stadium. The team has won regular season MAC titles in 1990, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2015; MAC East division titles in 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2015, as well as the conference tournament in 2006 and 2008. In 1990, the team went 43-9 en route to their first MAC title, an NCAA regional championship, and a berth in the College World Series. Currently, the softball team is coached by Karen Linder, who has been with the team since the 1997 season. The team was established in 1976 and began regular-season play in the Mid-American Conference in 1983 when the MAC added softball as a conference sport.
- MAC East division titles: 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015
- MAC regular-season titles: 1990, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015
- MAC tournament titles: 2006, 2008
- NCAA tournament appearances: 1990, 2006, 2008
- NCAA regional titles: 1990
The wrestling team is one of Kent State's oldest sports, going back to its establishment in 1927. It has historically been one of the school's most successful teams, winning multiple conference titles and making a series of appearances in the NCAA tournament, finishing as high as 5th nationally in both 1941 and 1942. For 42 seasons, the team was led by legendary coach Joseph Begala, who compiled a career record of 307-69-5 and the national reputation as the "winningest wrestling coach" coaching Kent State from 1929–1942 and again from 1945 until his retirement in 1971. The team has its home meets at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, its home venue since 1950. More recently, the Flashes have again received national attention appearing in the national top-25 rankings in each of the past three seasons and began the 2008-2009 season ranked 23rd. The wrestling team is currently led by head coach and Kent State alum Jim Andrassy, who has been with the team as a wrestler, graduate assistant, and assistant coach since 1990 and as head coach since 2003. In 2011, Kent State had its first national champion with Dustin Kilgore at the 197-pound class.
- MAC regular-season titles: 1958, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2003, 2009
- MAC tournament titles: 1958, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990
- NCAA tournament appearances: 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1985
Other varsity sports
- Co-ed and all-women's Cheerleading
- Men's Cross Country
- Women's Cross Country
- Women's Soccer
- Men's Indoor Track and Field
- Women's Indoor Track and Field
- Men's Outdoor Track and Field
- Women's Outdoor Track and Field
- Women's Volleyball
Additionally, Kent State used to sponsor the following sports, which were eliminated due to either budget constraints and/or Title IX compliance:
- Ice hockey (now a club sport)
- Men's Gymnastics
- Men's Swimming and Diving
- Women's Swimming and Diving
- Men's Tennis
- Women's Tennis
|Name||Opened||Renovated||Named for||Other names||Capacity||Sports||Photo|
|Dix Stadium||1969||2007–08||Robert C. Dix, KSU trustee||Memorial Stadium (1969–71)||25,319||Football
Field hockey (1997–2005)
|Diamond at Dix||1999||500||Softball|
|David and Peggy Edmonds Baseball and Softball Training Facility||2014||Dave and Peggy Edmunds, alumni and philanthropists||Baseball and softball|
|Ferrara and Page Golf Teaching and Learning Facility||2007||Herb Page, KSU director of golf; and Emilio and Margaret Ferrara, philantrhopists||Men's and women's golf|
|Field House||1990||2014||Indoor track and field
Football (practice facility)
|Ice Arena||1970||2007||2,000||Men's ice hockey (club)|
|Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center||1950||1992||Memorial for Kent State students and alumni who served in World War II||Men's Physical Education Building (1950–56)
Memorial Gymnasium (1956–92)
|6,327||Men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball, women's gymnastics, wrestling|
|Murphy–Mellis Field||2005||Mel Mellis and Susan Murphy, philanthropists||500||Field hockey|
|Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium||1966||2005||Hal and Julie Schoonover and Olga Mural, philantrhopists||Gene Michael Field (1990–2005)||1,148||Baseball|
|Outdoor Track||Outdoor track and field|
|Zoeller Field||1990||2010–11||Ronald Zoeller, former KSU soccer player and philanthropist||Kent State Soccer Field (1997–2010)||833||Women's soccer
Field hockey (1990–97)
Kent State's most prominent rivalry is with the nearby University of Akron Zips, also a member of the Mid-American Conference, located just 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Kent. The rivalry is the most competitive in football and men's basketball, though it is played out in other sports as well. The two schools' football teams have played for the Wagon Wheel trophy since 1946 and each year since 1972. The rivalry, however, has only been a conference game since 1992 when Akron joined the Mid-American Conference as well as from 1932–1936 and 1944-1951 when both schools were members of the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Kent State also has rivalries with fellow MAC-member and sister school Bowling Green State University as well as non-league schools Youngstown State University and Cleveland State University, both of which are located in close proximity to Kent.
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