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Pittsburg State Gorillas football


Pittsburg State Gorillas football

Pittsburg State Gorillas
First season 1908
Head coach Tim Beck
Home stadium Carnie Smith Stadium
Year built 1923
Stadium capacity 8,343
Location Pittsburg, Kansas
League NCAA Division II
Conference Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
All-time record 639–326–47 (.655)
Postseason bowl record 3–0
Claimed national titles 1957 1961 1991 2011
Conference titles 27

Crimson and Gold

Marching band Pride of the Plains Marching Band

The Pittsburg State Gorillas football team represents Pittsburg State University in collegiate level football. The Pittsburg State football team was formed in 1908, competes in NCAA Division II and is affiliated with the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). The Gorillas play their home games at Carnie Smith Stadium, more commonly referred to as "The Pitt", in Pittsburg, Kansas. Pittsburg State has won more games than any other program in NCAA Division II history.[1] It has won four national championships (1957, 1961, 1991 and 2011) and 27 conference championships, including 13 conference titles in 20 seasons under former head coach Chuck Broyles.


Early years

The Pittsburg State football program began in 1908 under head coach Albert McLeland. McLeland compiled a record of 2-2-2 in his only season as head coach.[2] John W. Fuhrer succeeded McLeland and served as Pitt State's football coach from 1909 to 1914 and 1918, compiling a record of 26-22-2.[2][3]

The program enjoyed several years of success in the 1920s under head coach Garfield Weede. Weede coached the team to a 50-31-6 record from 1919 to 1928 including the school's first undefeated season in 1924.[3][4] That year, his team was declared Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference champions.[5] Weede ended his tenure at Pittsburg on a downturn, losing every game of his final season of 1928. His squad only scored in two of seven games and allowed a total of 113 points.[6]

During the 1930s and 1940s, Pittsburg State compiled mediocre records under head coaches Blue Howell (35-30-6) and Charles Morgan (44-43-15).[7][8]

Carnie Smith era

Pittsburg State experienced a turn-around from 1949 to 1966 under head coach Carnie Smith. During Smith's 18-year tenure as head coach, the team compiled a record of 116-52-6 and won two NAIA national championships in 1957 and 1961.[9][10] The team completed perfect seasons at 11-0 in 1957 and 1961 with victories over Hillsdale College in the Holiday Bowl and Linfield College in the Camellia Bowl.[9][10] The football stadium was later named after Smith.[11]

Lester and Randleman eras

Tom Lester took over as the Gorillas' head coach in 1967. In nine years (1967-1975), Lester's teams compiled a record of 48-38-5 and won only one conference championship, the 1970 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship.[10][12]

From 1976 to 1981, Ron Randleman was Pittsburg State's head football coach. Randelman was credited with turning the football program around, compiling a 36–25–2 record in six seasons. He directed the Gorillas to three Central States Conference championships and a trip to the NAIA national finals in 1981.[12][13] He received coach of the year honors from his conference and his NAIA district three times. In 1981, he was named NAIA National Coach of the Year and NAIA District Six Coach of the Year. On February 5, 1982, Randleman left Pittsburg State to take over at Sam Houston State.

Franchione era

Dennis Franchione, a Pittsburg State alumnus, served as head football coach for five years from 1985 to 1989. During his five seasons with the Gorillas, he led the team to a 53-6-0 record, 37-1-0 in conference, won five conference titles, and was named NAIA National Coach of the Year twice.[13] He tied the school record for victories in a single season three times before breaking it with the 12 victories of his 1989 team.[14][15] During the 1989 season, the Gorillas moved from the NAIA to the NCAA's Division II.

Broyles era

In 1990, Chuck Broyles became the head football coach at Pittsburg State. In his first season, the Gorillas went 10-0 in the regular season and won two games in the Division playoffs. In 1991, the team finished 13-1-1 and won the NCAA Division II Football Championship. His teams also played in the Division II championship games in 1992, 1995 and 2004. In 2004, the Gorillas finished 14-1, losing 36-31 to Valdosta State University in the Division II championship game. During his 20 years as Pittsburg State's head coach, Broyles compiled a record of 194-45-2. He retired at the end of the 2009 season.[16][17][18]

Carnie Smith Stadium

With the success of the football program in the 1990s, Pittsburg State undertook a $5.8 million renovation of Carnie Smith Stadium in 2000, a further $2.5 million renovation to the west end in 2006 (including the addition of eight luxury boxes), and the addition of a $1.7 million Video Board in 2008 (the biggest in Division II at the time).[11][19]

Fall Classic at Arrowhead

Pittsburg State's chief rivalry game is with MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State University. The games between the two schools, known as the Fall Classic at Arrowhead, are played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.[20][21] The 2002 game had an attendance of 26,695 —- the most of any Division II game.[22]

Head coaching history

Main article: List of Pittsburg State Gorrillas head football coaches

Current program

Tim Beck took over as Pittsburg State's head football coach in 2010. In his second year as head coach, the Gorillas compiled a record of 13-1 and returned to the NCAA Division II Championship game for the first time since 2004.[23] The Gorillas defeated Wayne State 35-21 to win the title.

See also

  • List of winningest college football teams


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