Sacramento State Hornets

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Sacramento State Hornets
University California State University, Sacramento
Conference Big Sky Conference
Western Athletic Conference (baseball)
American Athletic Conference (women's rowing)
Big West Conference (beach volleyball, men's soccer)
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Bill Macriss
Location Sacramento, California
Varsity teams 21
Football stadium Hornet Stadium
Basketball arena Hornets Nest
Baseball stadium John Smith Field
Nickname Hornets
Fight song "Fight, Hornet, Fight!"
Colors Green and Gold[1]
Big Sky Conference logo in Sacramento's State's colors

The Sacramento State Hornets (also Sac State) represent California State University, Sacramento in Sacramento, the capital city of the U.S. state of California, in intercollegiate athletics. The school fields 21 teams including men and women's basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, tennis, and track and field; women's-only gymnastics, beach volleyball, volleyball, and softball; and men's-only baseball and football. The Hornets compete in NCAA Division I, and are members of the Big Sky Conference.[2] The men's soccer and women's beach volleyball teams play as affiliate members in the Big West Conference,[3][4] the baseball team plays as an affiliate member in the Western Athletic Conference,[5] and the women's rowing team is an affiliate of the American Athletic Conference.[6]


California State University, Sacramento sponsors teams in nine men's and twelve women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[7]

  1. ^ Baseball competes in the Western Athletic Conference.
  2. ^ a b Men's soccer and women's beach volleyball compete in the Big West Conference.
  3. ^ Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which had its first national championship in the spring of 2016.[8]
  4. ^ Women's gymnastics competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
  5. ^ Women's rowing competes in the American Athletic Conference.


The university has achieved multiple national championships from when it was a Division III, Division II, and now a Division I school, including Softball (AIAW D-II) in 1981, Women's Volleyball (AIAW D-III) in 1980, and Women's Golf (AIAW D-III) in 1981. The school has also been a National Runner-up 8 times including Softball in 1989 (D-II), Women's Volleyball in 1979 and 1989 (D-II), Baseball in 1988 (D-II), Women's Track and Field in 1981 (AIAW D-II), Men's Cross Country in 1979 (D-II), Football in 1964 (CDN), and Men's Basketball (1962 CDN). Prior to AIAW softball division classifications, the softball team played in two Women's College World Series in 1976 and 1977.[9]

The university has accomplished 53 conference championships, the most occurring in the Big Sky. Including:[10]

  • Women's Volleyball (Big Sky, 11 total): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Men's Tennis (Big Sky, 12 total): 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Women's Tennis (Big Sky, 11 total): 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Men's Golf (Big Sky, 5 total): 1996, 1997/2007 (Independent)/2008, 2012 (American Sky)
  • Women's Soccer (Big Sky, 2 total): 2007, 2010
  • Women's Golf (Big Sky, 1 total): 2007
  • Men's Indoor Track & Field (Big Sky, 3 total): 2007, 2008, 2011
  • Men's Outdoor Track & Field (Big Sky, 1 total): 2011
  • Women's Indoor Track & Field (Big Sky, 3 total): 2008, 2010, 2011
  • Women's Outdoor Track & Field (Big Sky, 5 total): 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Women's Gymnastics (Mountain Pacific, 6 total): 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014/2006, 2007 (WAC),
  • Men's Soccer (Mountain Pacific, 3 total): 2001, 2009, 2010
  • Softball (Pacific Coast, 1 total): 2008
  • Baseball: (WAC, 3 total): 2012, 2014, 2017
  • Women's Rowing (WIRAC, 5 total): 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009

2010 conference realignments[edit]

Recently, there have been speculations that the Hornets' Athletic department may move to the Football Bowl Subdivision[11] due to the population base of Sacramento (Ranked 20th largest in college sports),[12] the (enrollment) size of the university, and the attractiveness of recruiting in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The WAC have shown interest of adding Sacramento State Hornets for years (their baseball and gymnastics program are currently in the WAC), and Commissioner Dough Fullerton of Big Sky was told that the WAC have contacted Sac State officials about a possible invitation.[13] However, the Hornets needed to add an additional sport for women in order to meet the criteria of Title IX[14] and needed to fund a new sports complex for men's and women's basketball and volleyball because the Colberg Court was inadequate for FBS level sports and is severely outdated (crowd capacity of 1012 persons)[15] often being compared to high school gyms. Since the 2010-2012 NCAA conference realignment, Sac State was unable to fund for a massive facility upgrade for their athletic facilities (including basketball/volleyball, football, baseball and softball among others) in order to move to the FBS due to the current struggling economy and resistance from students and faculty members because of increasing tuition and overall cost.[16] To add on, the Football program was required to have an attendance average of 15,000 each season and the athletic department needed to increase overall funds for their athletic programs. On June 6, 2011, Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton announce that "We're in a better place than the WAC is.",[17] marking an end to speculations of the Hornets programs moving to the FBS for this duration of conference realignment. Although the Hornets did not change conferences, they welcomed their rival UC Davis and Cal Poly to the Big Sky in 2012 for football only,[18] and North Dakota and Southern Utah for all sports.[19]


Notable baseball players for the Sacramento State Hornets include:[20]


The Sacramento State Hornets football program began in 1954, coached by Dave Strong (The teams' first football head coach). The programs' first victory came in the second season, 1955, where the Hornets defeated Southern Oregon by a point, which was also their only win of the season(they were win ess in their first season of football). Sacramento State Football first affiliated with the Northern California Athletic Conference (NCAC) from 1962 until 1972, where they were added to the Western Football Conference (WFC) from 1973 to 1985, then becoming part of the D-1AA American West Conference (AWC).[21] In 1996, Sac State was added to the Big Sky Conference along with Portland State, becoming the first California school in the Big Sky. Hornet Stadium has been home to the football team since 1969.

The team has never been ranked in any major polls by the end of all their past seasons, but have won 4 conference titles: 1964 and 1966-NCAC, 1986-WFC, and 1995-AFC. The Hornets football team participated in 2 bowls, The Pasadena Bowl in 1968 against Grambling State, where the Hornets lost 7-34, and The Camellia Bowl in 1964 ( 1964 College Division National Runner-up), where Montana State Bobcats defeated the Hornets 28-7.

Current success[edit]

One of Sac State's most notable wins came on September 3, 2011 in the season opener for both Sac State and Oregon State Beavers of the Pac-12 conference at Reser Stadium. The Hornets upset the Beavers in OT 29-28 with a 2-point conversion pass from QB Jeff Flemming to WR Brandyn Reed, beating an AQ Conference team for the first time in school history in front of an announced crowd of 41,581.[22] The Beavers were a 23-point favorite coming into the game.

On September 8, 2012, the Hornets repeated the feat of defeating a Pac-12, upsetting the Colorado Buffaloes by a score 30-28 in Boulder in front of a crowd of 46,843.[23] The Buffaloes were heavily favored in the match up. Walk-on Edgar Castaneda was awarded a full scholarship following his game-winning field goal.


In all sports, the university has a rivalry with the University of California, Davis due to close proximity. The rivalry football game is called the Causeway Classic and is played for the Causeway Cup, referring to the schools' connection by the long Yolo Causeway bridge over the Yolo Bypass floodway. More recently, the rivalry was officially expanded to include all sports the teams compete in. UC Davis leads the series 40 to 18 with no ties. This game has drawn crowds up to 18,000 in the Hornet Stadium, and is widely popular in the local area. Other notable rivalries includes Portland State, Eastern Washington, Weber State, and conference powers Montana State University and the University of Montana.

Past Hornets drafted in the NFL[edit]

Many Hornets have been drafted directly into the NFL onto teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.[24]

Sacramento State Marching Band[edit]

The Sacramento State Marching Band performs at home football games each fall, as well as at numerous other university functions and also periodically at high school band festivals. The Hornet Revue Pep Band is a subgroup of the marching band, and performs at all home basketball (men's and women's) and volleyball games. Both bands are under the direction of Dr. Clay Redfield.

Fight song[edit]

"Fight, Hornet, Fight!" is the official fight song of California State University, Sacramento. It is most widely known for being played by the Sacramento State Marching Band after scores at Sacramento State football games, and during the band's pre-game and halftime shows. It is played after a touchdown, field goal, extra point, or a safety.

"Fight, Hornet, Fight!" is also played as the band forms a tunnel for the football team as they enter Hornet Stadium before the beginning of each home game. After every Hornet win, the football team comes over to the sideline where the band's section is and sings along while the song is being played.

"Fight, Hornet, Fight!" was composed by Don McDonald in 1949. McDonald graduated from Sacramento State in 1952. The current arrangement of the song was written by former Band Director Jeffrey Edom in 1997.


  1. ^ Sacramento State Brand Book (PDF). Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Big Sky Conference - Member Institutions". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Men's Soccer". Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Big West Conference Adds Beach Volleyball To Sports Lineup" (Press release). Big West Conference. June 26, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Baseball - News -—Official Web Site of the Western Athletic Conference". Retrieved 16 February 2015.  C1 control character in |title= at position 32 (help)
  6. ^ "The American adds Associate Members for Women's Rowing" (Press release). American Athletic Conference. March 25, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "NCAA DII, DIII membership approves Sand Volleyball as 90th championship". NCAA. January 17, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Sacramento State Championships". Hornet Sports. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  11. ^ "WAC expansion: Does the Big East hold the key". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Local Television Market Universe Estimates" (PDF). Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  13. ^ McCarney, Dan (May 2, 2011). "Waters, source: WAC expansion won’t include Sun Belt, Big Sky schools". mySA - San Antonio's Home Page. San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  14. ^ "Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972". 2 January 2003. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "THE NEST - BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL, GYMNASTICS". Sacramento State. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  16. ^ Keyes, Kimberly (Oct 14, 2009). "Sac State Tuition Increasing, Classes and Professors Decreasing". Sacramento Press. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  17. ^ Watson, Graham (June 15, 2011). "Big Sky fires some fightin’ words at the WAC". Dr. Saturday - NCAAF. Yahoo Sports Blog. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  18. ^ Peloquin, Matt (September 7, 2010). "Source: Cal Poly & UC Davis to Join Big Sky for Football". Conference Realignment News, NCAA School Message Board Directory & Conference Realignment Forum Community. College Sports Info. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  19. ^ BOB MESEROLL Missoulian sports editor. "Big Sky Conference deals with expansion". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Sacramento State – NCAA College Football Information & Resource". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "Sacramento State Hornets vs. Colorado Buffaloes - Box Score - September 08, 2012 - ESPN". 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  24. ^ "Sacramento St. Players/Alumni". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 

External links[edit]