Fran Welch, USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Although he never competed in track & field as an athlete, the late Fran Welch is remembered as a key figure in the rise of the Emporia State program.

His track and cross country teams claimed 18 league crowns, four NAIA cross country championships, one NAIA track & field title, and one NCAA small college cross country title during his 24-year career at the school. He coached at the school from 1928 to 1943 and from 1946 to 1955.

Welch, a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, came to Emporia State in 1914 and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball.  When he quarterbacked the football team, the Hornets had a 24-1-2 record.  Later on, with 24 years as a football coach, he compiled a 116-81-15 mark, and his teams won six conference titles.

Born in 1895 in Hartfield, Kan., Welch was a resident of the Sunflower state his entire life. Welch was awarded a Bachelor of Science in education in 1918 from Emporia State (then Kansas Normal College), then completed requirements for a degree in agriculture at Kansas State University. He served as a U.S. Army Lieutenant in World War I and took a leave of absence from teaching to serve in World War II as a Captain and special services officer at Fort Riley.

Welch was a member of the Physical Education Department staff at ESU from 1920 until 1965, when he retired. He was an internationally known track and field coach and he had trained a number of Olympic athletes.

ESU’s football and track & field stadium was renamed Welch Stadium in 1960 in his honor.

Welch passed on June 19, 1970 at the age of 74.


USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Class of 2012 Main Page

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