The Hornung Way
Nov. 29, 2012
Editor's note: This story appears in the winter issue of The Horn, CSU Athletics' magazine. All former student-athletes and Ram Club members receive The Horn on a quarterly basis. For more information, contact the Ram Club Office, (970) 491-4666.
By Chris Feller
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch Pierce Hornung set foot on the basketball court you know he plays the game a little differently.
The 6 foot, 5 inch senior from Arvada, Colo., plays with such tenacity he often receives a standing ovation from the crowd. Usually this applause is withheld for the leading scorer, but Hornung rarely comes close to that. Rather the somewhat undersized power forward is recognized for his nonstop, all-out play.
While Hornung is listed as only the fifth tallest member on the men's basketball roster he led the Rams in rebounding last season and ranked third in the Mountain West with 8.8 per game. Where did Hornung get this determination to out-work and out-hustle his taller teammates and conference foes you might ask? Well in the Hornung family the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It's the Hornung way.
Stan Hornung, Pierce's father and former defensive tackle for the Rams in the early eighties, played with the same perseverance that Pierce exemplifies today. That mentality was passed along to Pierce at a young age and has stuck with him ever since.
"Growing up seeing his work ethic, I've tried to emulate that in what I do whether it be on the basketball court or in the classroom," said the younger Hornung.
Stan, who grew up on the eastern plains in Stratton, Colo., credits most of that work ethic to the many hours spent on his family's farm. He sees that same approach in his son when he makes the hour-drive north to Fort Collins to watch home games.
"We always talked about how hard you have to work," said Stan. "He understood that and he epitomized it. You have a kid that is driven, had two brothers who pushed him, parents who didn't give it to him easy and a grandfather who farmed. I never had to push him. He pushed himself."
Stan, an Ag Business major while at CSU, was infamous for having once plowed his fathers land from 4 a.m. until 11 p.m. because his parents forgot to tell him to stop. That attitude carried over to the football field, where after missing the first three games of his junior season due to a neck injury, he recorded 38 tackles, 2 sacks and four tackles-for-loss.
"I was always kind of undersized when I was playing so maybe he gets a little of it from me," added Stan humbly. "We're both fierce competitors. We couldn't play board games together when he was growing up because we'd always end up in a fight."
Now that Pierce is older the board-game competition has died down but the bond that the father-son team shares is as strong as ever.
"He always said if you work hard things tend to work out for you," added the younger Hornung. "If you work hard you tend to be luckier."
Whether its luck or sheer hustle you can guarantee Pierce will be outworking and out-rebounding opponents all season long. You wouldn't expect anything different from a Hornung, it's just their way.