Time for something a little different.
This was a difficult KYF because I had to start from scratch and there really is not a lot of information about Delaware State floating around on the inter-webs. I tried to do the best I could and want to share with you all I have learned about our new friends from Dover. If you are reading this and are from Delaware State, please feel free to share links or information I missed or have wrong.
History: Not many people know this, but at the onset of the Civil War, Delaware was still a slave state. Attempts to abolish slavery in the state had failed by a narrow margin. However by 1860 in practical terms, the state had mostly ended the practice because 91.7 percent of the black population were free men. The state remained in the Union after the legislature voted against secession on January 3, 1861. As the governor said, Delaware had been “the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the Constitution and would be the last to leave it”. Delaware is notable for being the only "slave state" from which no Confederate army regiments or militia groups were ever assembled.
When Congress passed the First Morrill Act of 1862, it gave to every state remaining in the Union a grant of of public land. The states were to sell this land and use the proceeds to establish colleges that would educate its citizens in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts and other professions.
In the beginning, not every one benefited form the land-grant system. Under the conditions of legal separation of the races, African Americans in the south were not permitted to attend the original land-grant institutions. This was the case in Delaware. On August 30th, 1890, congress passed the Second Morrill Act, which specified amongst other things, that any states that had used their 1862 funds entirely for the education of white students was forced to either open their facilities to black students or to provide separate facilities for them. This act served to establish sixteen black land-grant colleges throughout the South. These universities became known as “The 1890 Land-Grant Institutions.”
Because the State of Delaware had used the original 1862 funds on Delaware College (now the University of Delaware) and did not admit blacks, a separate institution was required. On May 15, 1891 the Delaware General Assembly established The State College for Colored Students (now known as Delaware State University) under the provisions of the second Morrill Act. The first class was held in February 1892 with seven students. The College graduated its first class May 1898.
As the institution expanded its programs and infrastructure, in 1947 the school became known as Delaware State College. On July 1st, 1993, Governor Thomas Carper signed another name change into law, renaming the college to Delaware State University.
Location: The 400 acre Delaware State campus is located in the historic city of Dover, the capital of Delaware. Like many other states, Delaware's capital is not its largest city. With about 35,000 residents, Dover is the second largest city in the state (behind Wilmington). It is geographical positioned at the center of the state, a short distance to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC.
If you have ever been to Dover, you will agree it has a small town feel. It is the only state capital in America protected by a volunteer fire department. Frequently you will see large cargo planes in the sky over Dover, because it is also home to Dover Air Force Base.
Amongst other things, Dover AFB has the U.S. military's only mortuary located in the continental United States, which accepts and processes the remains of soldiers killed in battle. Two weekends a year, NASCAR stock car races are held at the Monster Mile of Dover’s International Speedway. Attracting over 100,000 spectators these races temporarily make Dover the state's largest city.
Nickname: The athletic teams at Delaware State are known as the Hornets. Long-time fans say the Hornet name started in 1942 when the university's third president, Howard Gregg, moved to Dover from Florida A&M and brought some good football players with him. The team began winning and calling itself the Hornets, because the team rode in a bus nicknamed "the Green Hornet."
This is the first insect opponent that Michigan has faced since Harry Kipke’s 1934 Wolverines beat the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech 9-2 in Ann Arbor. Believe it or not, that was the only win of the season for the 1-7 defending National Champions. Ouch.
Mascot: The Stingin' Hornet is the official mascot of Delaware State University. One of the first things I would do if I was the athletic director at DSU is improve the quality and content of their sports marketing. There is no official information about the mascot. One picture I found was buried on the cheerleading page and the single confirmation I could find on the costumed mascot’s name was in a local newspaper.
Colors/Logo/Helmet: DSU’s official school colors are the very regal sounding Cherry Red and Columbia Blue. It is a unique combo, and I can only think of a couple of schools (Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, and Mississippi) that combine red and blue as their primary colors.
It is obvious Delaware State has spent some marketing effort and money on developing a professional hornet themed logo. The menacing looking hornet is made a little less fearsome by the clown-like red and blue colors. I don’t think I have ever seen a real hornet sporting these colors.
Their helmet is a simple cherry red with a white face mask. The word “State” is spelled out in script. Based on their media guide, they have had this design for a very long time. Every photo of a modern day DSU football player seems to have this look.
Fight Song: Again, I could not find any reference to the fight song on the school or athletic web site. I found the words in a newspaper article, but could not find the music anywhere. There is a nice page dedicated to the seemingly awesome DSU marching band, nicknamed The Approaching Storm.
Apparently these guys are very fun to watch, and I am looking forward to seeing their band more than watching the football game.
You mighty Hornets, fight on to victory!
With all your power, 'cause the Hornets can't be beat!
To get the victory, and hold your heads up high!
So fight, fight, fight on Hornets, fight to victory!
Academics: There are only 3,500 students at Delaware State. The US News and World Report rates Delaware State as a Tier 4 non-selective university. I found this a bit confusing because USNWR also reports that only 38.8% of students that applied to DSU got in. That is an incredibly low percentage and not what I would call as “non-selective”. As a comparison, the same publication lists Michigan’s 2008 acceptance rate was 42% and Ohio State’s as 62.3%.
Delaware State is part of the select and proud group of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). These institutions were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the traditionally under-served black community. There are currently 105 HBCUs in the United States.
Football: Delaware State started playing football in 1912 and they have an overall 329-356-11 record. They are a member of the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). They currently coached by former Eastern Michigan Coach Al Lavan and play in the 7,000 seat Alumni Stadium. In five seasons at DSU, Lavan has posted an overall record of 34-22, including a 29-10 mark in MEAC contests. In 2007, he led the Hornets to a school-record 10 wins, their first conference championship since 1991 and first ever appearance in the NCAA playoffs.
Delaware State is 2-0 in games they have played in the state of Michigan. In 2006 they beat Florida A&M at Ford Field 34-14 and in 1992 they downed Grambling at the Silver Dome on 45-42. The largest crowd to ever watch a DSU football game was the 2006 game at Ford Field witnessed by 29,713 fans. They will break that record on Saturday.
Their first playoff game set up their first ever game against their neighbor the University of Delaware. It was the first ever meeting between the schools. Many people feel this game was LONG overdue and fueled by racism. I really don’t know that much about the situation, but it seems strange to me that two schools, from the same state, located less than 50 miles away from each other, playing at the same level of college football had never met on the field.
The Hornets lost that game 44-7, and I am happy to report Delaware scheduled and played DSU again this year.
Other Sports: In addition to football, the university fields NCAA Division I teams in men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, baseball, softball, track and field, tennis, volleyball, soccer, bowling as well as its newest sport – women’s equestrian.
During the 2008-09 academic year, Delaware State celebrated its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference bowling championship. The bowling team earned DSU’s first ever NCAA Tournament victory (in any sport) advancing to the Bowling Final Four.
Tommy Amaker’s 2005 Michigan basketball team played Delaware State and beat them by 20. That Hornet team went on to win the 2005 MEAC championship and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. Playing as a 16-seed, the Hornets lost to 1-seed Duke. The Hornets also have made back to back NIT appearances in 2006 and 2007.
Famous Alums: As you would expect from a small school like Delaware State, their famous alumni list is pretty small. It includes the former US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands: Cylde Bishop and the Delaware Social Worker of the Year: Dr. Marlene Saunders.
Delaware State has produced several NFL football players, the most famous is San Francisco 49er Super Bowl hero John Taylor. Prior to being drafted in the 3rd round, Taylor had 42 touchdowns (33 receiving) during his career at Delaware State and remains the most dominant and famous player to ever come out of the MEAC. He was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 and All-MEAC first team in 1984 and 1985. He retired from the NFL in 1993 after 3 Super Bowl rings and 2 pro bowls. In 2005, he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.
Game: I am going to go out on a limb here…. We will win this game. I don’t care what the score is. We will win this game. I don’t care how many style points we rack up. We will win this game. I don’t care how many points we score. We will win this game. I am hoping that Denard gets the VAST MAJORITY of the snaps at QB, and honestly hope that Tate never sees on the field. We will win this game. I would love to see Cone get a lot of playing time. We will win this game. I pray there will be no injuries. We will win this game. I know Appalachian State happened. We will win this game. I know that we have never beaten a NCAA FCS team. We will win this game.
IF we happen to lose this game, I will be the first to scream for both Rich Rodriguez AND Bill Martin’s head. We will win this game.
Michigan 56 - Delaware State 17