FAQs: Carthage Athletics 

Carthage fields 28 varsity sports:

  • Men’s sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and wrestling.
  • Women’s sports: basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.
  • Coed sports: esports 

Visit the Carthage Athletics website

Dante Graham About one-third of Carthage students are involved in varsity intercollegiate athletics, and another one-third participate in intramurals and club sports offered here (men’s and women’s bowling, soccer, and co-ed ice hockey). 

Balancing academic and athletic commitments is definitely doable, even in Carthage’s most time-intensive majors. Like nursing, athletic training, or, in the case of Dante Graham ’20, neuroscience.

Outside of class, Dante carved up his time among track and field, work, and his fraternity, Delta Omega Nu. Tough? Sure. It just took planning and discipline.

“I ended up choosing Carthage because it was a smaller, more intimate college,” Dante said. “Being able to run track there was the cherry on top.”

Carthage Firebirds logo The Carthage Firebirds! Carthage adopted the Firebirds team name in February 2021.

Cody Taylor Cody Taylor ’09, M.Ed. ’14, the athletics liaison in our admissions office, can tell you firsthand what it’s like to be a Carthage student-athlete. He played soccer for Carthage.

“Student” comes first in the term student-athlete, so practices and workouts are scheduled around classes and labs whenever possible. Carthage teams’ average cumulative GPA is 3.2.

When obstacles appear, our campus-wide Student Outreach System alerts athletic staff, academic advisors, and others who team up with the student to form solutions.

“We have lots of longtime coaches. They stay for two reasons: a) They win, and b) They care about their students,” Cody says.

Carthage’s team colors are red, black, and white. 

Meet Ember! Ember was introduced to the Carthage community at Homecoming on Oct. 16, 2021.

Ember is the College's new mascot.


After over a year of gathering extensive input, Carthage announced Feb. 19, 2021, that its 27 NCAA varsity sports and new coed competitive esports program athletic teams will now compete as the Firebirds.

The Carthage College Board of Trustees voted in fall 2020 to immediately retire the Red Men and Lady Reds team names, as well as the mascot Torchie, after receiving a recommendation from President John Swallow to take this action. President Swallow made his recommendation after reviewing the findings of a broadly representative Task Force on Team Names and Mascot.

The Task Force on Team Names and Mascot was formed by the Board of Trustees in November 2019 to evaluate whether the Red Men and Lady Reds athletic team names and mascot Torchie remained right for Carthage. The task force included representation from across the Carthage community, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, coaches, and trustees.

The task force worked over winter and spring 2019-2020 to carefully and collaboratively gather information and feedback from the Carthage community. After a brief pause due to the pandemic, the group resumed its work during the summer of 2020 and presented its findings to President Swallow in August 2020.

Task Force Members:
  • The Rev. Dr. Paul D. Erickson, Trustee (Task Force Chair)
  • Mary Bishop, Trustee
  • Andy Boncher ’99, Past President of the Alumni Council
  • Gina Madrigrano Friebus ’76, Trustee, First Vice Chair of the Board
  • Abigail Hanna, Vice President for Administrative Planning and Innovation and Chief Organizational Development Officer
  • Hoyt H. Harper II ’77, Trustee, Second Vice Chair of the Board
  • Frederick Krull ’83, P’16, Trustee
  • Brady Lindsley ’95, Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach
  • Andrew S. Palmen, Trustee
  • Kelsey Peterson, Assistant Director of Athletics (Served on Task Force November 2019-August 2020)
  • Jasmine Ratcliff ’20, Student and Carthage graduate
  • Nicholas Seroni ’20, Student and Carthage graduate
  • Nathan Stewart, Director of Athletics
  • Leanne Ulmer, Head Women’s Volleyball Coach
  • Elizabeth Young, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

The task force conducted both quantitative and qualitative research, engaging all segments of the Carthage community, including alumni, students, faculty, and staff. A survey conducted by the task force, completed by nearly 3,000 Carthaginians, found that the majority of Carthage’s community supported a change to the College’s team name.

Citing widely held concerns about the connotations for racial and gender equity, the task force concluded that Red Men and Lady Reds were “not unifying symbols for our community.” Symbolizing the flame of knowledge, Torchie wasn’t directly tied to the outgoing nicknames, yet feedback from the Carthage community expressed equally strong support for a mascot change.

This is a historic moment for Carthage! We are excited to have a new, unifying team name. The collaborative process was led by the Task Force on Team Names and Mascot. This group partnered with students, alumni, faculty, and staff in a multi-phase process that involved gathering submissions from the full Carthage community, offering focus groups and other opportunities for discussion and feedback, carefully evaluating submissions and selecting finalists, and sharing those finalists with the Carthage community for additional input. All members of the Carthage community were invited to participate.

A college’s team name and mascot is extremely meaningful to its sense of identity, community, and school spirit. The Task Force on Team Names and Mascot used the following questions in evaluating the Red Men and Lady Reds team names, and considered these same questions as it evaluated potential new names:

  • Is this team name unifying for the Carthage campus and larger Carthage community?
  • Does it represent positive qualities, ideals, or associations around which people can rally?
  • Is it broadly relevant across the Carthage community, student body, and among generations of alumni?
  • Is it representative of the Carthage experience and/or history, either generally or specifically?
  • Does it work equally well for women’s and men’s sports teams?
  • Does it have the potential to translate in a visually pleasing manner?

Once the decision was made to retire our old team names, the goal was to introduce a new team name and mascot in time for the 2021-22 seasons. The task force spent the fall 2020 semester gathering, reviewing, and evaluating team name suggestions. The community quickly rallied around a few finalists, and a winning name was clear by early spring 2021.

Our new team name — Carthage Firebirds! — was announced in February 2021. Twenty-five Carthage teams competed as Firebirds during the spring 2021 semester.

The new Firebirds logo was developed during the spring of 2021. New signage was installed on campus starting in summer 2021, and new uniforms for student-athletes beginning in fall 2021. The new mascot — Ember! — was introduced to the Carthage community in October 2021.