We are Fighting Gila Monsters!

Join our Gila Monster family

EAC’s Fighting Gila Monsters come from all 50 states and more than 30 countries around the world. Join our Gila Monster family to discover the best years of your life!

EAC offers more than 90 certificates and degrees, including the #1 nursing school in Arizona, a fine arts program featuring the only marching band in Arizona, and an engineering program that brings students up to speed for success at universities and top-tiered firms.

Students thrive at EAC, making friendships that last a lifetime. Our vibrant student experience includes on-campus housing, more than 30 clubs and organizations, active intramurals, and nationally ranked athletic and e-sports teams.

And best of all, at EAC, most students leave with $0 debt.

EA President Todd Haynie poses with a college student.

Become a Fighting Gila Monster!

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Gila Monster History

For more than a century, Eastern Arizona College has been known as the Fighting Gila Monsters, and Gila Hank has been our mascot since 1947.

Although Eastern Arizona College was founded in 1888, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the College would adopt the iconic identity as the Fighting Gila Monsters.

During this vibrant time, the College consistently made headlines for its athletic accomplishments. The football team, in only their second year, triumphed over the University of Arizona Wildcats, while the men’s basketball team secured the state championship three consecutive times, including an undefeated season of 33 wins in 1927. That same year, the College advanced to the national tournament, competing as the Gila Red Devils, with uniforms that featured a Gila monster insignia. In a move that would define the College’s future mascot, the players brought along two orange- and black-beaded, live Gila monsters to the tournament, cementing the College’s Fighting Gila Monster identity.

In 1947, the desire for a definitive representation of this mascot led Jerry Stone, an EAC student newspaper advisor, to reach out to Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Reg Manning of The Arizona Republic. The resulting creation was Gila Hank, a character adorned with a 10-gallon hat and brandishing a pair of revolvers, embodying the College’s spirit and tenacity.

Gila Hank began as a small feature in the student newspaper’s sports section and eventually became the official mascot of the College. He has graced countless publications and been a beacon of encouragement, cheering on athletic teams and infusing campus events with his undying spirit. Over the years, Reg Manning’s creation has become a significant part of the College’s identity, representing the community’s spirit and unity.

“Gila Hank holds a special place in our campus’ heart,” said Todd Haynie, EAC president. “Reg Manning would be gratified to know that thousands upon thousands of students have an emotional connection with a character he created some time ago.”

Through the years, Gila Hank’s visual representation has evolved, allowing for a modernized mascot capable of engaging with the EAC family across various media formats.

“It is difficult to come close to understanding the impact Gila Hank has made at EAC. He is part of our story and will continue to touch the lives of EAC students for many generations to come.”