Adams State was founded in 1921 as a teacher's college but now offers a variety of programs including masters degrees in many fields. Billy Adams, a Colorado legislator who would later become governor, worked for three decades before obtaining the authorization to found Adams State Normal School in 1921. His goal was to educate teachers for remote, rural areas, such as the San Luis Valley. With only a grade school education himself, Adams came to the SLV in 1879 at the age of 17 to begin ranching. Within three years, he was mayor of Alamosa. Alamosa was a rough-hewn town in those days. The Rio Grande typically flooded each spring, turning Main Street to mud. Once the college was built, a hedge of Russian olive trees had to be planted along the campus edge to keep out herds of horses. Then, as now, potatoes were the area’s primary cash crop. But grain and vegetables were also raised, as well as cattle, sheep and pigs. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad shipped them east. The perseverance demonstrated by Billy Adams in founding his teachers college also characterized those who took over the task of making Adams State more than a dream. The communities of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley faithfully supported the efforts of individuals such as Dr. Ira Richardson, the college’s first president. Billy Adams passed away in 1954, just shy of his 93rd birthday. He left the school $10,000.
Alamosa, Colorado is a small city with a population of about 9133, located in the heart of the San Luis Valley. The college's campus, which is 90 acres in size, holds all academic buildings and residential complexes. The college's main administration building is Richardson Hall, which is named after the school's first president, Dr. Ira Richardson. The campus includes facilities for the music department, art department, as well as a newly constructed theatre building, erected in 2001. The William Porter Math and Science hall is named for alumni William Porter, who is the creater of E-Trade, and a large benefactor of the school. The school also includes two gyms, one for student recreation, and Plachy Hall, mainly for the college's sporting groups. There are five on campus apartments, as well as three traditional dorm complexes. Coronado and Girault Halls contain the majority of the entering freshmen. Other on campus complexes include the Educational Sciences, or ES building, which houses english, psychology, sociology, and teacher education majors. Leon Memorial hall is the main showcase area for music students. Consturction is currently underway to heavily renovate the college's stadium. The new complex will include suites for game viewing, and a new residence hall.
Basketball: Men’s NCAA Division II, Women’s NCAA Division II, Men’s Intramural, Women’s Intramural
Cross-Country: Men's NCAA Division II, Women's NCAA Division II Football: Men's NCAA Division II
Golf: Women's NCAA Division II
Wrestling : Men's NCAA Division II
Softball : Women's NCAA Division II, co-ed Intramural
Soccer : Women's NCAA Division II, co-ed Intramural
Indoor Track & Field : Women's NCAA Division II, Men's NCAA Division II
Outdoor Track & Field : Women's NCAA Division II, Men's NCAA Division II
Volleyball : Women's NCAA Division II, co-ed Intramural
ASC's Men's cross country team is most notably known for becoming the first team in cross country history to record a perfect score at the National Champtionships in 1992, the first year Adams competed in NCAA Division II after competing in the NAIA previously. The women's cross country team has won the past four National Championships dating back to 2003 and have won 15 National Championships in all, including three during the NAIA era. The Grizzly track and cross country teams are coached by Damon Martin, a winner of 20 National Coach of the Year awards.