Central Missouri Mules and Jennies

The sports teams at the University of Central Missouri are known as the Mules (men) and Jennies (women). They participate in the NCAA's Division II and in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Central Missouri
Mules and Jennies
UniversityUniversity of Central Missouri
ConferenceThe MIAA
NCAADivision II
Athletic directorJerry Hughes
LocationWarrensburg, Missouri
Varsity teams14
Football stadiumAudrey J. Walton Stadium
Basketball arenaUCM Multipurpose Building
MascotMo the Mule
NicknameMules and Jennies
Fight song'Go Mules'
ColorsCardinal and Black[1]

Origin of nickname

When the 1921–22 school year began, school officials decided "Normals" and "Teachers" were no longer appropriate nicknames for Central's athletic teams. Therefore, the school's athletic committee established a contest that promised the winner a three-year postgraduate subscription of the school newspaper. More than 80 suggestions were received, but the winning entry was submitted by John Thomason of Chilhowee, Missouri, Class of 1924, who felt that at least one Missouri team should be known as "Mules".

The "Jennies" nickname for Central Missouri's women's athletic teams was officially adopted in February, 1974 after the school's student newspaper, The Muleskinner, offered a prize of $50 in a contest to choose a nickname for the women's athletic teams. Cynthia Almaguer of Knob Noster, Missouri, Class of 1974, was chosen winner from 34 entries. Almaguer told the contest judges, "The reason I picked the name is because of the obvious feminine kinship of the jenny to our mule mascot. It is a fact that a mule is a descendant of a female donkey – the jenny."

In truth, however, mules are sired by jack asses (male donkeys) mated to mares (female horses). A jenny crossed with a stallion produces a hinny.

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Cross countryCross country
Track and fieldSoftball
WrestlingTrack and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor

Men's basketball

The Mules have been playing basketball since 1905, and are among the top two teams in all-time wins on the NCAA Division II level.[2] The Mules have won four national titles: in 1937, 1938 (both National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, before the NCAA sponsored a Division II tournament), in 1984 (when UCM, then Central Missouri State University, was the first school ever to win NCAA men's and women's basketball championships in the same season), and in 2014. UCM swept the Division II titles in 1984. (The feat was later duplicated by Northwestern College (Iowa) in NAIA Division II in 2001 and the University of Connecticut in NCAA Division I in 2004 and 2014, although the Mules are the only team to win both championships on the same day and on the same court.)

Entering the 2008–09 season, Central Missouri was second in Division II history in wins, with 1,469. Only Central Washington University has more.[3]

The Mules were under the leadership of Head Coach Kim Anderson until the end of the 2014 year, a standout player in the late 1970s at the University of Missouri under coach Norm Stewart.

Prominent men's basketball coaches

  • Phog Allen – coached at UCM 1912–1919; compiled 84–31 record before returning to coach his alma mater, the University of Kansas.
  • Tom Scott – coached at UCM from 1939–1942 and 1945–46. Scott was lured away by the North Carolina Tar Heels, where he was head coach from 1946 to 1952, when replaced by Frank McGuire.
  • Gene Bartow – coached three seasons at UCM, 1961–1964; coached for 34 seasons at the collegiate level, including succeeding the legendary John Wooden at UCLA in 1975 and creating the basketball program at UAB.
  • Joe B. Hall – followed Bartow as coach for the 1964–65 season before going to the University of Kentucky, where he would eventually succeed the legendary Adolph Rupp in 1972.
  • Lynn Nance – came to UCM from Iowa State in time for the 1980–81 season. Nance led the Mules to their third national championship in 1984. He stayed at the helm until 1985 and finished with a record of 115–35. He went on to coach at the University of Washington.
  • Jim Wooldridge – followed Nance, coaching 1985–91, in which he compiled a record of 131–48. His final three squads made the Sweet Sixteen in Division II. After UCM, Wooldridge coached at several NCAA Division I schools, and is currently the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for UC Riverside.
  • Kim Anderson – coached from 2002 to 2014, winning the National Championship in 2014 and compiling a record of 274–94. Anderson left to coach for his alma mater, the University of Missouri, in 2014.

Women's basketball

The University has sponsored women's basketball since 1970. The Jennies began competing on the NCAA Division II level during the 1982–83 season. Prior to that, they were members of the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). In the 35 seasons of Jennies basketball, only two seasons have ended with a sub-.500 record. Besides the national title in 1984, the program has a history of great postseason success.

  • 1983 – Final Four
  • 1984 – Won Championship
  • 1985 – Lost title game
  • 1986 – Elite Eight
  • 1987 – Sweet Sixteen
  • 1988 – Sweet Sixteen
  • 1989 – Final Four
  • 1990 – Elite Eight
  • 2018 - Won Championship

In the 2006–07 season, despite one of the worst season's in school history at 14–14, UCM was 10th in all of Division II in home attendance.[4]


The Mules baseball program has been arguably the most successful program in the school's history. The team has taken part in the Division II World Series 13 times, 12 of those being since 1989. They have been to the title game three times, winning the title in 1994 and 2003. The Mules have a large number of current pro players, especially considering that UCM is a Division II school. In the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft, five Mules were selected in the first 11 rounds.[5]

Notable players

Currently, there are 14 professionals that attended Central Missouri.[6]


Central Missouri's softball team appeared in two Women's College World Series in 1971 and 1972.[7]


Football has been sponsored by the university since 1895. Historically, it has not enjoyed the consistent success that other athletic teams have had. However, with the hiring of head coach Willie Fritz before the 1997 season, the Mules became relevant again. Since coming to UCM, Fritz has a record of 82–40. That includes two postseason appearances. In 2001, the Mules went 10–2 and won the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. In 2002, they made their first ever trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, losing to Northern Colorado 49-28.

Prior to the NCAA sponsoring a playoff in Division II, Central Missouri played in three bowl games.

The Mules have won or shared eight MIAA conference titles in football. (1926, 1956, 1970, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003)

Prominent coaches

The Mules have had two prominent coaches who have guided them. Phog Allen coached football at Central from 1912–1917, with a record of 29-19-2. Al Molde came on in 1980. Molde only stayed three seasons, but his tenure turned around a program that wished the 1970s never happened. Central's record from 1971–79 was 27-63-2. Molde left in 1983 after compiling a 17-9-4 record in his three seasons. After leaving Central Missouri, Molde coached at Eastern Illinois, followed by Division I Western Michigan.

Mules in the pros

Jennie's Soccer

The Jennie's completed a perfect season going 27-0 during the 2017 season. They went on to win their first soccer championship winning in penalty kicks.


  1. UCM Brand and Style Guide. November 9, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  2. "2006–07 UCM Mens Basketball Media Guide Page 20" (PDF). UCM Athletics. October 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  3. "2008–09 Central Missouri Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  4. "2006–07 NCAA Women's Basketball Attendance Figures" (PDF). NCAA. 2007-05-24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  5. "Powers Leads Division II Charge". Scout.com. 2007-01-18. Archived from the original on 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  6. "The Official Site of Minor League Baseball – MiLB.com Homepage". MiLB.com.
  7. Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
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