Red and Black. S-E-M-O. Houck Field House. The Show Me Center. Houck Field. Capaha Field. The Abe Stuber Track and Field Complex. The Southeast Softball Complex. The Redhawk Walk. Rowdy. The Lock ‘n Rock. The Alma Mater.
No matter the season, no matter the sport, no matter the gridiron, hardwood, track, field or court, these words transport anyone who has ever walked this campus to a particular athletic moment forever etched in their memory.
Extraordinary seasons have come and gone. Yesterday’s proud Indians and Otahkians are today’s Redhawks soaring to new heights. The year, the team, the place – they are all different – but the spirit, the traditions, and the making of champions endures, resonating across generations of SEMO faithful. S-E …
- Southeast first pioneered an Athletics program in 1904 with the launch of a football team, helping found the 14-team Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
- Two spectacular football seasons have long been topics of conversation. In 1937, Head Coach Abe Stuber led the team to a 9-0 record, giving up only 12 points the entire season. Head Coach Kenneth Knox, the winningest coach in Southeast football history and athletic director from 1952-1967, followed, leading the team to another undefeated 9-0 season in 1955 and winning the MIAA Championship, one of six MIAA championships secured during his tenure. Jim Lohr captained the 1955 team, later becoming Southeast’s head coach in 1974. He retired as Southeast’s athletic director in 1991.
- The Football Redhawks were OVC champions in 2010 and 2019, and participated in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) playoffs in 2010, 2018 and 2019.
- During Abe Stuber’s 1932-1946 tenure, his teams won 17 MIAA titles in football, track and basketball. He captured more championships than anyone in school history. The University’s track complex is named in his honor.
- Marvin Rosengarten’s tireless efforts and pursuit of excellence will long be remembered in Southeast Athletics. A former football player and assistant coach, Rosengarten also served admirably as track coach, athletics director and director of athletic development. As director of Athletics from 1979 to 1989, he prepared Southeast well for its transition from Division II to Division I athletics and for entry into the Ohio Valley Conference. During his tenure, athletic fundraising grew significantly; Southeast won 68 Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, three national team championships and several NCAA regional championships; and Southeast became a track force while winning 15 team titles in 22 years. Membership in the Booster Club also grew significantly under Rosengarten, and he was instrumental in the construction of the Student Recreation Center and Show Me Center. He retired from Southeast in 1989, and the Rosengarten Athletic Complex at Southeast is named in his honor.
- Ron Staten broke the color barrier and became the first African American to play intercollegiate sports for the college as a member of the 1957-1958 basketball team. Shortly thereafter in 1964, Curtis Williams followed in his path, distinguishing himself by setting several records in basketball and track.
- During the 1960s, Walter Smallwood and Mike Smith were the first African Americans to play football at Southeast with Smallwood setting several school and conference records.
- The Southeast Missouri State Teachers’ College men’s basketball team made its mark in history in 1943 when it won its division in the National Collegiate Basketball tournament in Kansas City, besting rival Maryville Teachers College.
- In Southeast Missouri State University's 1975 football season, Mrs. Linda Webb became the University's first African American cheerleader. As a business student and athlete at Southeast, Webb was regarded by her fellow students as always being "enthusiastic" and constantly smiling. In this accomplishment marked an important step for African American women on Southeast's campus. Read more at The Arrow.
- Southeast fielded its first women’s basketball team in 1975. While the team struggled, finishing 0-10 that first season, it became a strong program, advancing to the NCAA Division II finals in 1990-1991 and earning a berth in the NCAA Division I tournament in 2020.
- Southeast Missouri moved to NCAA Division I in 1991-1992. During its first 30 years in the league, SEMO teams have won scores of Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular-season titles and OVC tournament championships. During that span, SEMO also has been awarded the OVC Commissioner’s Cup and several Women’s All-Sports trophies. SEMO claimed the University’s first-ever OVC Commissioner’s Cup in 2020-2021.
- Longtime track and field Coach Joey Haines left a legacy when he retired in 2008 that may be difficult to surpass. Haines was the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year 20 times during his career. During a 26-season span, his teams won one NCAA Division II National Indoor Championship, one NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship and 18 National Top-Four finishes. He was the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 1985, NCAA Division I Regional Coach of the Year in 1998, MIAA Coach of the Year six times and Missouri Track and Field Coaches Association Coach of the Year six times. Haines coached one NCAA Division I national champion, 23 NCAA Division II national champions, 10 NCAA Division I All-Americans and 145 NCAA Division II All-Americans. He led Southeast to 44 team conference titles and 17 OVC Championships. He was inducted into the Southeast Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
- Ron Shumate is the winningest basketball coach in Southeast men's basketball history with an overall record of 306-171. Shumate led Southeast to seven MIAA Championships (1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990), five NCAA Division II Regional Tournament titles (1982, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989) and two NCAA Division II National Championship Game appearances (1986, 1989). He owned a 17-10 record in NCAA Tournament play. Shumate was named the 1988 Basketball Times NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year and Southeast was the 1989 USA Today Missouri Basketball "Team of the Year". He finished with a 196-42 (.824) home record and nine 20-win seasons. His 1989-1990 team was inducted into the Southeast Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and his 1989-1990 team went 26-5, won the NCAA South Central Regional crown and ranked eighth nationally in the final NCAA Division II poll. In the final year of NCAA Division II play in 1990-1991, Shumate led Southeast to a 21-7 record and eighth-straight 20-win season. He was inducted into the SEMO Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
- Cindy also oversaw event management and sports information and was responsible for the athletic department’s equity and diversity programs and departmental policies and procedures. She moved to Southeast’s Athletics administration in 2005, serving as the Redhawks Director of Athletics on an interim basis in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012. During her tenure, Gannon founded and serves as director of the Annual Walk for Women’s Athletics, an event that provides scholarship funds for the Redhawks Legacy program. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $500,000 for athletic scholarships. In 2017, in appreciation of her decade- long commitment to the Walk for Women and her efforts to champion women’s athletics, the event was renamed the Cindy Gannon Walk for Women. She was inducted into the SEMO Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
- Excellence on the field and on the court has connected many exceptional Southeast athletes with opportunities to play professionally. Alumni have been drafted, signed professional contracts and have proudly played with numerous MLB, NFL and NBA teams, while others have played internationally at the next level.
- Southeast Missouri offensive tackle Drew Forbes was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 National Football League (NFL) Draft, making him the Redhawks’ second-highest draft pick in school history. He followed former teammate Kendall Donnerson who was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. It was the first time since 2003 (Willie Ponder, New York Giants) and 2004 (Eugene Amano, Tennessee Titans) that the Redhawks had a player drafted in back-to-back years.
- In his first career NFL start, former Southeast Missouri wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, who played at SEMO from 2015-2019, finished with four catches for 42 yards and a game-high two receiving touchdowns for the New England Patriots on Jan. 2, 2022.
- Royal Tibe (1919-1923) is believed to be the only athlete at Southeast to earn varsity letters in five sports – football, basketball, baseball, track and tennis. An outstanding punter on the football team, he also served as captain of the track team and was described as an outstanding defensive player on the basketball team.
- Pat Colon was the first female athlete at Southeast to have her number retired. She earned basketball All-American honors in 1984 and still stands as the all-time leading rebounder in school history. Colon had 2,034 points and 1,003 rebounds in her Southeast career.
- Originally a walk-on, Rich Eichhorst was a four-year men’s basketball letterman and First-Team All-Conference as a junior and senior. During his senior year, he led the team in scoring and rebounding, and was voted Most Valuable Player and captain. Eichhorst broke the school scoring records for most points in a single game (36), for a single season (333) and for a career (868). He joined the NBA St. Louis Hawks at the end of the 1961-1962 season and was an NFL football official and major college basketball referee from 1964-1989.
- Miles was named the Ohio Valley Conference Male Track Athlete of the Year four times (2005 indoors, 2006 indoors & outdoors and 2008 indoors) and still owns Southeast school records in the 200m (indoors), 400m (indoors and outdoors) and 4x400m relay (indoors and outdoors). Southeast enjoyed tremendous team success with Smith, winning OVC Outdoor Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008. He won seven individual OVC Championships in his collegiate career and was named the 2006 OVC Athlete of the Championship at the OVC Indoor Track & Field Championships. Smith was also an elite competitor on the international stage. He ran for the US National Team in the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, where he won a gold medal with the 4x400m relay team. He also qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in both 2008 and 2012.