welch francis
Fran Welch

  • Won a state championship in football, baseball, and basketball as a high school athlete
  • Women’s field events coach for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team
  • Coached K-State Normal to five Cross Country National Championships and one in Track and Field
Welch, Fran
Inducted 1973

Born: August 21, 1895 – Hartford, Kansas

Died June 19, 1970 – Kansas City, Kansas

Graduated Hartford (KS) H.S., 1914; Kansas State Normal (Emporia State), 1918


One of the first seven coaches to be inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1954, Francis G. Welch was the women’s field events coach for the United States team in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

Playing Career

As an athlete at Kansas State Normal, Welch lettered four years in football and baseball, three years in basketball and was a member of three state championship teams, one in each sport.

Coaching Career at Emporia State University

He served as athletic director for 32 years at Kansas State Normal (Emporia State) from 1928-1960 while coaching the track and cross country teams to national prominence. Welch’s teams won 18 of 20 conference championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. His Kansas State Normal teams won five national championships in cross country and one in track and field.

Honors & Achievements

One of the most respected track coaches in the nation, Welch served as president of the Missouri Valley Association of the AAU, chairman of the National AAU Track and Field committee and chairman of the Missouri Valley AAU Track and Field Committee. Welch Stadium at Emporia State was named in his Honor.