About Us

We know you’re going to ask: Why Pittsburg in Crawford County, in the Southeast corner of Kansas? (and no, there is not an “h” at the end of Pittsburg)

Centralized location

We’re less than 1,000 miles from both the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, as well as both the Canadian and Mexican borders. Location may not be an accomplishment, but it sure is convenient, especially for organizations like the NJCAA who have schools spread across the nation.

Small town atmosphere with big city facilities

Everything you need is easy to get to and within 15 minutes; and, if you are looking to kill a little time, we have some really cool stuff to see, like Big Brutus, and a Veterans Memorial that features a Vietnam Memorial Wall replica. We’re the only college with a gorilla as its mascot, so you’ll see gorilla statues everywhere. And in the early 1900’s, while numerous coal miners still lived in the area, we became known for our fried chicken dinners. Six family style chicken houses are still open, and visiting each of them is an experience.

Just a typical Fall night at Carnie Smith Stadium.

Plus, Carnie Smith Stadium is an old school, small college gem that the university and community continues to invest in. Built in 1923, more than $12 million in renovations have been put into this facility since 2001. That includes luxury boxes, Mondo Turf field, and just this year, a new, state-of-the-art 1,560 square foot LED video board with wide-angle visibility for all fans in the stadium was added. The Pittsburg State football program is the only current NCAA Division II program included in ESPN’s “50 Best College Football Programs Over 150 Years“; and, Bleacher Report listed Carnie Smith Stadium as one of their “Top 50 Stadiums to See Before You Die” and one of the “Top 20 College Football Atmospheres in the Country“.

And while Carnie Smith Stadium is truly “The Jungle”, the new Robert W. Plaster Center indoor facility means teams can practice in any weather Mother Nature throws at them. In our area in December, anything is possible: Bring your shorts and your Winter coats… just in case (we’re not kidding).

We know how to host national championships

In 2009, future NFL MVP Cam Newton and the Blinn (TX) Buccaneers came into Carnie Smith Stadium and beat Fort Scott (KS) 31-26 in a wild game that came down to an end of game punt return for a TD. In 2010, 12 future NFL players played in a 13-12 win for Navarro (TX) over Butler (KS). In 2018, East Mississippi of Last Chance U fame won 10-9 over Garden City (TX). Plus, the NJCAA, NAIA, and NCAA have all used the Pittsburg State campus for indoor national track meets. And that doesn’t count the numerous baseball and softball national tournaments that have taken advantage of our location, facilities, and hospitality over the decades.

Kenny Bednarek of Indian Hills set an NJCAA record inside the Plaster Center in the 200-meter dash prelims in 2019, with a time of 20.43. His 45.97 in the 400-meter dash won him the national championship.
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