Indiana State Sycamores

The Indiana State Sycamores are the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic teams of Indiana State University. Since the 1977–78 academic year, Indiana State has been a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). The Indiana State football team has competed in the second-tier Division I FCS since the 1982 season, and has been a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) since it was spun off from the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference (Gateway) when the latter league merged into the MVC in 1992. Past conference memberships include the Indiana College Athletic League (1895–1922), the Indiana Intercollegiate Conference (1922–1950), the Indiana Collegiate Conference (1950–1968) and the Midwestern Conference (1970–1972). The women's teams were Gateway members from the league's 1982 founding until its absorption by the MVC. In 1986, a year after the Gateway took on football as its only men's sport, the Sycamores football team joined that conference.

Indiana State Sycamores
UniversityIndiana State University
ConferenceMissouri Valley Conference
Missouri Valley Football Conference
NCAADivision I / FCS
Athletic directorSherard Clinkscales[1]
LocationTerre Haute, Indiana
Varsity teams15 (6 men's and 9 women's)
Football stadiumMemorial Stadium (football, soccer)
Basketball arenaHulman Center
Baseball stadiumBob Warn Field
Softball stadiumPrice Field
Other arenasCountry Club of Terre Haute
Gibson Track and Field Complex
Indoor Track and Field Facility
ISU Arena
LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course
Vigo County Aquatic Center
MascotSycamore Sam
Fight songMarch On! (You Fighting Sycamores)
ColorsRoyal Blue and White[2]


'Sycamores' nickname and evolution of mascot

Early on in the school's history, the athletes were referred to as the "Fighting Teachers" (one of the school's early names was "Indiana State Teachers College"), until the students chose the name "Sycamores", due to the abundance of sycamore trees in Indiana and especially in the Wabash River Valley; though it is believed that the students voted on 'Sycamores' on a lark, never thinking it would win. During the 1950s and 1960s, the sycamore tree itself was used as Indiana State's mascot. However, as a tree does not lend itself well to an athletic mascot, especially considering Indiana State's in-state rivalries with the Ball State Cardinals and Butler Bulldogs, the university created an Indian mascot named "Chief Quabachi", and his "Princess", in 1969.[3] This change paid homage to the fact that ISU was the "State" university of a state named after Indians (prior to statehood Indiana was primarily inhabited by Indians). The university dropped the "Chief Quabachi" mascot in 1989 in response to a variety of objections over use of the Indian caricature[4] and did not have another mascot until 1995, when a blue-and-white wolf named "Sycamore Sam" became Indiana State's mascot.[5]

Sports sponsored

A member of the Missouri Valley Conference, Indiana State University sponsors six men's and nine women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports[6] with women's swimming and diving to be added: in 2016–17.[7] Indiana State's softball team has appeared in two Women's College World Series in 1974 and 1976.[8]

Men's sports Women's sports
BasketballCross country
Cross countryGolf
Track and fieldSoftball
Swimming and diving
Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor

National championships

National team championships (3)

As of December 1, 2018, Indiana State has won one NCAA team championship.[9]

The men's basketball team won the 1950 NAIA National Championship.

Kurt Thomas led the men's gymnastics team to the 1977 NCAA National Championship. In 1973 and 1979, the team finished third in the NCAA Championships. In 1971, Coach Grete Treiber led the ISU women's gymnastics team to a national runner-up finish at the AIAW National Championships. In 1964, Coach Roger Counsil led the ISU men's freshman gymnastics team to a national runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships.

The women's bowling team won the 1984 United States Bowling Congress National Championship.

The men's basketball team was the NCAA Division I national runner-up in 1979 and the NCAA College Division national runner-up in 1968.

The men's basketball team was the national runner-up to the 1946 and 1948 NAIA National Championship. The 1950 title team placed eight players on the 1951 Pan-American Games gold medal-winning team. Head Coach John Longfellow also served as co-head coach of the Pan-American Games team.

NCAA National Individual Championships (29)

Indiana State has won 29 NCAA Individual Championships.

  • Holli Hyche (Indoor/Outdoor Track) – 7[10]
(Indoor: 55M – 1993, 1994; 200M – 1993 & 1994)
(Outdoor: 100M – 1993; 200M – 1993, 100M – 1994)
  • Kurt Thomas (Gymnastics) – 5[11]
(All-Around 1977, 1979, Parallel Bars 1977, 1979, Horizontal Bar 1979)
  • Kylie Hutson (Indoor; Outdoor Track) – 4
(Indoor and Outdoor Pole Vault 2009, Indoor^ and Outdoor Pole Vault 2010)
^ Indoor: 14' 9" – NCAA Record
Outdoor: 14’ 7.25" – NCAA Record
  • Felisha Johnson (Indoor/Outdoor Track) – 2
(Indoor Weight Throw 2011, 2013)
  • David Seal (Gymnastics) – 2
(Rings 1970, 1972)
  • Curt Hahn (Gymnastics) – 1
(Sidehorse 1964)
  • Ken Scorra (Gymnastics) – 1
(Horizontal Bars 1964)
  • Bob Mahorney (Gymnastics) – 1
(Rings 1973)
  • Ed Slezak (Gymnastics) – 1
(Pommel Horse 1973)
  • Rick Danley (Gymnastics) – 1
(Horizontal Bar 1974)
  • Mike Hanna (Outdoor Track) – 1
(Pole Vault 1968)
  • Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling) – 1
(Heavyweight 1982)
  • Chris Lancaster (Outdoor Track) – 1
(110M High Hurdles 1990)
  • Aubrey Herring (Indoor Track) – 1
(60M Hurdles 2001)

NAIA Individual Championships (5)

  • John Caddell (Swimming & Diving) – 3
(1M Diving 1963, 1964; 3M Diving 1964)
  • Mike Lane (Swimming & Diving) – 1
(3M Diving 1965)
  • Larry Dalton (Swimming & Diving) – 1
(200M Freestyle 1965)

Other Individual Championships (5)

  • Sarah Brumgart (Gymnastics) – 1
(Balance Beam) Division of Girls & Women's Sports (DGWS) National Collegiate Championship – 1971[12]
(1 mile, 880 yards) DGWS National Collegiate Championship – 1969[13]
  • Mike Hanna (Indoor track) – 2
(Pole Vault) Canadian Indoor National Championship – 1968, 1969[14]

Olympians (7)

Indiana State has produced 7 Olympians; 6 for the United States & 1 (Greggmar Swift) for Barbados. Additionally, several ISU Coaches have US Olympic ties; Roger Counsil was the 1980 US Olympic Gymnastics coach, Erin Gilreath, ass't track & field coach competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics

James E. Sullivan Award (2)

Indiana State has produced 2 Sullivan Award winners:

  • Kurt Thomas 1979 winner; World Champion (1978, 1979), NCAA Champion (1977) (men's gymnastics)
  • Bruce Baumgartner 1995 winner; Olympic Champion (1984, 1992), World Champion (1986, 1993, 1995), Pan-American Champion (1987, 1991, 1995), NCAA Champion (1982) (freestyle wrestling)

All-Americans (162)

Indiana State has produced 162+ All-Americans:

  • The Men's Gymnastics Team leads with 38 All-Americans (1969–1980).[15]
  • The Football Team has 31 All-Americans (1967–2013)
  • The Baseball Team has produced 26 All-Americans (1963–2000)
  • The Women's Cross-Country & Track and Field Teams have produced 25 All-Americans (1969–2014)
  • The Men's Cross-Country & Track and Field Teams have produced 21 All-Americans (1958–2017)
  • The Men's Basketball Team has produced 14 All-Americans (1930–1979)
  • The Wrestling Team produced 7 All-Americans (1933–1986)[16]

Conference champions (98)

Indiana College Athletic League (1900–1922)

3 titles in baseball.

Indiana Intercollegiate Conference (1923–1947)

11 titles in baseball and men's basketball.

Indiana Collegiate Conference (1950–1968)

30 titles in baseball, men's basketball, men's cross-country, men's golf, football, men's swimming, men's track & field and wrestling.

  • Paul Wolf—ICC Baseball Coach of the Year (1958, 1963, 1966 and 1967)
  • Duane Klueh—ICC Basketball Coach of the Year (1959, 1963, 1966, 1967)
  • Mark Dean—ICC Football Coach of the Year (1952)
  • Bill Jones—ICC Football Coach of the Year (1959, 1960, 1963)
  • Jerry Huntsman—ICC Football Coach of the Year (1966)
  • Paul Selge—ICC Swimming Coach of the Year (1965)
  • Chester Sanders—ICC Wrestling Coach of the Year (1966)
  • Ted Parker—ICC Wrestler of the Year (1966)

Gateway Conference (1982–1992)

4 titles in women's basketball, women's track & field and women's cross-country.

  • Andi Myers—Gateway Basketball Coach of the Year (1988)

Missouri Valley Conference (1977–present)

57 titles in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track & field and men's and women's cross-country. Of particular note, the Runnin' Sycamores (the men's and women's cross-country and track & field teams) have won 32 titles in the past 26 seasons.

* Note – All of the above championship information is from the media guides available at or from the Indiana State archives (each yearbook from 1896–1993 is available).[17]

Championship host

Indiana State University has hosted thirteen (2002, 2004–2011, 2013–14, 2016-2017) NCAA Division I cross country championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.[18] ISU will also host the 2018 NCAA Great Lakes Regionals in cross country and the 2019 NCAA Division I Nationals.[18]

Indiana State University hosted the 10th NCAA Wrestling Championships in 1937, at a time when the school had yet to establish a wrestling program. In 1965, the University hosted the National NAIA Wrestling tournament. The university also hosted the 1975 NCAA Gymnastics National Championships.


Indiana State University's rivalries include the Illinois State Redbirds, cross-state Ball State Cardinals (formerly a regional campus of Indiana State) with whom the Sycamores football team competed for the Victory Bell, the Evansville Purple Aces and the nearby Eastern Illinois Panthers.

Athletic bands

Indiana State's marching band is called the Marching Sycamores. The marching band performs at home football games and is the feature band at the Brickyard 400.

There are two alternating bands that play at men's and women's basketball games, known as the Blue and White Basketball Bands.

Athletes & coaches


  1. "Administration". Indiana State University.
  2. Marketing & Promotions (July 31, 2015). "Licensing & Logos — Official Web Site of Indiana State Athletics". Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  3. Brown, J. Thomas (2006). "Essay on History and Heritage – Traditions". Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  4. Feagin, Le'Sashea (2007). "A Short History of the Fighting Sycamore Name". Archived from the original on August 14, 2011.
  5. "Indiana State University". ISU Student Media.
  6. " Official Web Site of Indiana State Athletics".
  7. Streamline Technologies – Nashville, TN. "Missouri Valley Conference – Sycamore Athletics Adds Women's Swimming and Diving". Missouri Valley Conference. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  8. 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.
  9. (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on March 20, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Mike Hanna - Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame - Web Site of Indiana State Athletics". Indiana State University.
  15. Archived August 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Champions Database".
  17. Indiana State University yearbook collection Archived July 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. "Indiana State University Awarded 2014 & 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships, 2017 Great Lakes Regional". Official Web Site of Indiana State Athletics.
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