Go Emporia

Lorie Rogan stands and applauds the Emporia State men's basketball team at the conclusion of the game against Newman University. The #3 MIAA-ranked Hornets defeated Newman 92-63 on Feb. 11 in White Auditorium. 

On a regular day, retired educator Lorie Rogan wakes up in the morning to swim at the Emporia Recreation Center, comes home to care for her three loved ones with disabilities, and preaches at her church. 

However, on a day that the Emporia State basketball teams play, she can be found behind the home team bench in the first row of the yellow seats in the William Lindsay White Civic Auditorium. Wearing her “Lady Hornet” gear and using her booming voice to let others know she is there, two famous words echo off of the gymnasium walls: “Go Emporia!”

“Everywhere I go, people would say, ‘are you the Go Emporia Lady?,’” Rogan said. “I think that's going to go on my tombstone.” 

For nearly three decades Rogan has been attending ESU basketball games and firing up the crowd with her voice. Since then, she has received lots of attention from news sources and has been awarded with honors such as the Joe Cannon Service Award in 2017. 

“I started yelling because it was so quiet,” Rogan said. “I wasn't putting thought to it, but I started yelling, ‘Go Emporia.’”

Growing upshe was encouraged by four of her six brothers who were also athletes including her recently deceased brother Timmy who was her closest relative in age and spent a lot of time with Rogan.

“We had a good thing going in high school where the boys’ sports were big and typically the girls’ sports — we played to an empty gym,” Rogan said. “So, he’d (Timmy) always say, ‘you coming to my game today’ and I’d say, ‘you comin’ to mine?’” 

After graduation, Rogan rebelliously followed her friends to Kansas despite her parents’ disapproval and was most excited to play college basketball. 

Unfortunately, in the 1970s athletic scholarships were not yet available to women which meant that Rogan could not play because she needed money to pay for college and had to put most of her focus into a job. 

It wasn’t until a few years after Rogan graduated that Title IX was passed which states that “if an institution operates or sponsors an athletic program, it must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes,” according to the U.S. Department of Education

“I lived and I ate and I breathed basketball,” Rogan said. “I know I would have been able to play at a D1 school.”  

During her time studying at ESU, Rogan decided to play recreational softball instead. For many years she couldn’t bring herself to watch the basketball games. 

“It took a couple of decades,” Rogan said. “I did try to watch when I first moved here in 1975 and that was too painful.”

She did eventually find her way back to the sport in the ‘80s when she was the assistant coach to Emporia High School. Once Rogan had time to heal from the past, she began watching the Lady Hornets around 1995. During this time, she created close relationships with many of the players including alumni, Emily Bloss Carpenter.

“A friendship grew, I know that,” Bloss said. “After the four years, I invited her to my wedding (and) I sent Christmas cards.”

A bond formed after Bloss’s coach encouraged players to make connections with fans. 

“After the game I'd always come up and sit with her,” Bloss said. “She is an active community member, so to take any free time she had and give it to us, I mean that's awesome.” 

Fast forward to 2023, players are still feeling Rogan’s impact. Peyton Rogers, junior crime and delinquency studies major, has never seen her miss one of the games in his two years of playing for the men’s team. 

“When on the court I definitely can hear her too,” Rogers said. “She'll say it at perfect times when you just need that energy boost to get the momentum going. I think it definitely helps our team and gives us a slight advantage as well.”

While Rogan still enjoys pumping up the crowd, she is currently in her late 60s and has noticed how much harder it has become as she grows older. She says she would be willing to “pass the baton” should anyone want it. 

“If there's anybody at the college that wants a job that doesn't pay anything but it's just fun to be loud, they can have it,” Rogan said.

For now, Rogan is still attending each game and keeping her health up as much as possible by taking in new interests such as E-biking. 

“My mantra is stay upright and moving,” Rogan said.

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