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Hornet Football Facilities Benefit from Former Teammate’s Gift

February 13, 2017


Hornet football at Emporia State University is a success story that’s been developing for many years. Now, a former player from the days of Coaches Bob Seamen and Larry Kramer is making a gift that will have a substantial impact on teams of the future.

The Hornet football program will be benefitting from a financial gift given by alum and former football player Dave Robertson and his wife Kathy of Wichita. Robertson’s gift to the football program at Emporia State will help remodel the football locker room, meeting room and coaching facility.

“The locker room is like a second home to our players and we want them to feel special there,” said current Emporia State head coach Garin Higgins. “This project will help recruit and retain outstanding players. We are grateful to the Robertsons for their generous support of our football program.”

Now president and chief operating officer for Koch Industries, Inc., Robertson earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Emporia State in 1984.

“I learned the basic business concepts while at Emporia State University,” Robertson said. “That allowed me to get started, and hopefully those (concepts) have been honed and improved through experience.”

An Olathe native, Robertson was part of the selection committee that hired Coach Larry Kramer for the ESU football program.

“That first year under Larry Kramer was pure hell,” Robertson joked. “He was intent on changing and improving the program, and I was asking myself, ‘What have I done?’ It turned out that he was a great choice.”

During his time at ESU, Robertson’s focus was on education and football.

“That’s what I knew,” said Robertson, referring to his activities. “I spent all of my time in Cremer Hall in the business school or associated with football practice and football games.”

But his college years weren’t all about the football field and Cremer Hall. “I met the most important person in my life (while attending ESU),” Robertson admits. “My wife.”

It was a meeting that might never have happened without the help of friends. “I had seen her on campus, but I was a little apprehensive to approach her,” Robertson recalls. “So a mutual friend made the introduction.”

Dave and his wife, Kathy, have three children.

Robertson stays in close contact with Emporia State’s Athletic Director Kent Weiser and Garin Higgins, current Hornet football head coach.

“What Coach Higgins has built, and the quality of the football program makes me very proud,” Robertson said. “And to see the improvement in the facilities is great, too. I know it’s necessary if we want to continue to compete at this level.”

Robertson says Higgins has clearly built a culture of excellence and a culture of winning.

“Coach Higgins has an ability to recruit a certain type of individual who wants to contribute to a team, and then he gets the most out of his student athletes,” Robertson said. “It’s no different than what we try to do in business. We’re trying to find people who we think fit our culture, who want to contribute to a team, and then we try to have success by going out and beating our competitors in terms of producing the products and services that help people improve their lives.”

After reflecting on the Hornet football team this last season, Robertson joked about how he thought his football experience would be if he were a young aspiring college football player again.

“I’m thankful to have played when I did because I probably wouldn’t make the team and if I did, I would get killed,” Robertson joked. “Those guys are so much bigger, so much faster, so athletic, and it’s just awesome to watch. So I’m very thankful that I’m an old guy in that regard.”

Robertson had a few words of advice for ESU students.

“Try to find your passion because if you’re doing something that you really like, you will have fun and you are likely to do well,” Robertson said. “Try to match what you do well and what you love doing with what your life’s work is going to be.”

The bell ringing celebrating Dave and Kathy’s gift marked Emporia State’s first day of celebrations during Now & Forever Campaign Celebration Week, a week-long series of events that culminate with the unveiling of the Now & Forever Campaign grand total on Feb. 18.

About Now & Forever

Now and Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University, set out with a working goal to raise $45 million through the most comprehensive campaign in university history. Determined to build spirit, camaraderie and a sense of pride in Hornet Nation, we decided to share our victories. By ringing Silent Joe during each celebration, we announce to the world that the Hornet Nation is Silent No More.



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