Wayne State College is a four-year public college in the Nebraska State College System in Wayne, Nebraska, United States. The current enrollment is 3,571. The college opened as a State Normal School in 1910 after the State purchased the private Nebraska Normal College (established 1891). The State Normal College became State Normal School and Teacher's College in 1921. This was changed to Nebraska State Teachers College at Wayne in 1949 and the present name was adopted in 1963.
Wayne State offers 90 different programs of study in four Schools: Arts and Humanities, Business and Technology, Education and Counseling, and Natural and Social Sciences. Wayne State also offers classes at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.
Wayne State offers 15 NCAA Division II sports and is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in all sports. The mascot is the Wildcat. Men's sports include Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. Women's sports include basketball, Cross country running, Golf, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field, Softball, Volleyball, and Soccer.
The college began participating in athletics in 1912, when the football program began. Men's basketball and track and field began around the same time. These were the main sports up to World War II, when Wayne State was a member of the Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Association (NIAA) with Kearney, Chadron, Peru, and for a while, Omaha University. After World War II, the NIAA became the Nebraska College Conference (NCC) and Wayne State began to compete in baseball, cross country, golf, swimming, tennis, wrestling, and for a short period, boxing.
Before 1980, cross country, golf, indoor track and field, swimming, tennis, and wrestling were dropped. In 1997, women's soccer was added to the athletics program.
Wayne State began its football program in 1912. In 1970, the team played in a bowl game; it would not do this again until 2007. From 1999, when it joined the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, through 2010, the team maintained a 49–54–0 (0.476) record.
Four players off the 1993 team went on to play professional football. Brett Salisbury was the starting quarterback for the Helsinki East City Giants in Helsinki, Finland. Damon Thomas was an NFL free agent pick-up by the Buffalo Bills. Brad Ottis was a second-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams. He also played for the Arizona Cardinals for a few years. Byron Chamberlain was a seventh round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1995 and later became a Pro Bowl tight end with the Minnesota Vikings in 2001. No other team in Wayne State history has put more players into professional football. The 1993 WSC football team was inducted into the WSC Athletics Hall of Fame on October 5, 2002.
In 2008, it reached the D-II National Playoffs for the first time; it lost in the first round to Chadron State College (Nebraska). In 2011, they defeated Minnesota-Duluth at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne; this marked the first time that the Wildcats had won a game with a #1-ranked team.