|Illinois Fighting Illini|
|University||University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign|
|NCAA||Division I (FBS)|
|Athletic director||Josh Whitman|
|Varsity teams||21 (10 men's, 11 women's)|
|Football stadium||Memorial Stadium|
|Basketball arena||State Farm Center|
|Baseball stadium||Illinois Field|
|Softball stadium||Eichelberger Field|
|Soccer stadium||Demirjian Park|
|Fight song||Illinois Loyalty, Oskee Wow-Wow|
|Colors||Orange and blue  |
The Illinois Fighting Illini ( /ɪˈlaɪnaɪ/ ) are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The university offers 10 men's and 11 women's varsity sports.
The university operates a number of athletic facilities, including Memorial Stadium for football, the State Farm Center for both men's and women's basketball, Illinois Field for baseball, the ARC Pool for women's swimming and diving, the Atkins Tennis Center for men's and women's tennis, Eichelberger Field for softball, Huff Hall for men's and women's gymnastics, women's volleyball and men's wrestling, Demirjian Park for women's soccer and for men's and women's outdoor track and field, the Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois for men's and women's golf, the University of Illinois Arboretum for cross country and the University of Illinois Armory for men's and women's indoor track and field.
The Fighting Illini lay claim to over 25 National Championships dating back to 1900.
The University of Illinois official team name is the Fighting Illini.  The Illiniwek, Illinois Confederation, or Illini, were made up of 12 to 13 tribes who lived in the Mississippi River Valley. The term 'Illini', in relation to campus activities, appears to be first mentioned in January 1874, when the weekly newspaper changed its name from The Student to The Illini. An editorial in the first edition of the renamed newspaper indicated that Illini was a new term. During the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, it was used to refer to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the university, as well as to the campus as a whole. Many NCAA and High School mascots bearing reference to first nation people have changed their names, however, the University of Illinois maintains its position that the Illini nickname does not refer to the first nation inhabitants of the same land. 
The term Illini referring to the university's athletic teams seems to come from secondhand accounts of the athletic teams. The earliest reference in the Illio yearbook appears to be one mention in the summary of the 1907 football season. The term was more widely used in the 1910s especially during the 1914, 1915, and 1916 football seasons. The Daily Illini and football programs prior to these dates do not extensively cite the term and also used the terms "Indians," "our men," "Orange and Blue," and the "homecomers". 
The Illinois Confederation, also referred to as the Illiniwek or Illini, lived in the Mississippi River Valley and expanded their tribes in an area that stretched from Lake Michigan to Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas. 
The term Fighting Illini first appeared in a January 29, 1911, newspaper article describing the basketball team's effort during a game versus Purdue. By March 3, 1911, the athletic teams appeared to have earned the Fighting Illini nickname as a formal appellation evidenced in a newspaper report. In 2005, evidence suggested Fighting Illini was first used in 1921 as part of a fundraising campaign for construction of Memorial Stadium, but articles discovered in 2013 show it was first used in 1911.  The Fighting Illini nickname was adopted by general consensus as an unofficial school nickname sometime between 1921 and 1930. It was then used in newspaper articles, football programs and other publications eventually becoming the official name. 
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Tennis||Swimming and diving|
|Track and field†||Tennis|
|Wrestling||Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
Illinois has won 18 overall men's and women's NCAA team national championships through the 2017 NCAA athletic season.  Illinois ranks thirty-sixth all-time in total NCAA Division I national championships through the 2020–21 NCAA athletic season. 
Fighting Illini baseball has 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, 33 Big Ten championships and 4 Big Ten Tournament championships in 1989, 1990, 2000 and 2011.
Fighting Illini men's basketball titles include the 1915 Helms national championship, 5 NCAA Final Four appearances in 1949, 1951, 1952, 1989, 2005, 17 Big Ten championships and 3 Big Ten Tournament championships in 2003, 2005, and 2021. Through the end of the 2013–14 season, Illinois ranks 11th all-time in winning percentage and 14th all-time in wins among all NCAA Division I men's college basketball programs.
Fighting Illini women's basketball began play in 1974. The team won the 1997 Big Ten championship. They have made 8 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances in 1997 and 1998.
The men's cross country team were the Big Ten Champions in 1921, 1947 and 1984.
The Fighting Illini women's cross country team began play in 1977. Illinois won an individual NCAA championship in 2009.
The University of Illinois has been selected for national championship titles for their accomplishments in five seasons (1914, 1919, 1923, 1927, 1951) by NCAA-designated major selectors, often using mathematical algorithms.   : 111–113 Illinois claims championships for all five years.  The Fighting Illini program recognizes the 1951 national title selection by William F. Boand,  but as recently as 2006 this was not mentioned officially by the school.  The team also has 15 Big Ten Championship Football victories with 8 Bowl Game Victories at the 1947 Rose Bowl, 1952 Rose Bowl, 1964 Rose Bowl, 1990 Florida Citrus Bowl, 1994 Liberty Bowl, 1999 MicronPC.com Bowl, 2010 Texas Bowl, and 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
The men's golf team play their home matches on the Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois five miles from the university's campus, and are currently led by head coach Mike Small. The Fighting Illini men's golf program has won 18 Big Ten championships and in 2013 finished as national runner-up at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships, which was the highest finish in the program's history. 2014 was the third time in the past four years the program had qualified for the match play portion of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships in which the final eight teams compete in a bracket format. 
The Fighting Illini women's golf team began play in 1975. The team has made four NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2012.
The men's gymnastics team have been invited to 44 NCAA tournaments and have won 10 team NCAA championships, which is second most all-time only to Penn State Nittany Lions 12 team titles. Additionally, the Fighting Illini have won an all-time record 53 individual NCAA titles.  The Illini hold their competitions at George Huff Hall on the Champaign side of campus, and the team trains and holds practices at the Kenney Gym on the Urbana side of campus. 
The Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team began play in 1974. The team won three Big Ten Championships in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
The Fighting Illini women's soccer team began play in 1997. The team won two Big Ten Championships in 2003 and 2011. They have made twelve NCAA Tournaments appearances in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The team has four sweet sixteen appearances in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2013 and one elite eight appearance in 2004. The Illini are currently led by Janet Rayfield, who has been the head coach since 2002. 
The Fighting Illini softball team began play in 2000. The team has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2019. The current head coach is Tyra Perry.
The Fighting Illini women's swimming and diving team began play in 1974. The team had individual NCAA champions in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The Illinois men's tennis program was founded in 1908, but has enjoyed most of its success in recent years. The Illini have been one of the most successful men's tennis programs in the nation over the past twenty seasons, winning nine consecutive Big Ten Championships from 1997 to 2005; six of seven Big Ten Tournament Championships between 1999 and 2005; appearing in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen fourteen times, including eight years in a row (2002–09); advancing to three NCAA Final Fours between 2003 and 2007; and winning the 2003 NCAA National Championship. They have also won two ITA National Team Indoor Championships (2003, 2004)  and lost in the championship match three other times (1998, 1999, 2002). Illinois men's tennis owns the record for longest consecutive win streak in NCAA history at 64 matches, spanning from their first match of the 2002–03 season and ending with a 4–2 defeat by UCLA in the semifinals of the 2004 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament.
The Fighting Illini women's tennis team began play in 1975. The women's tennis team has made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2018 and 2019.
The men's Indoor Track and Field team has a total of 20 Big Ten Champion titles. For outdoor track and field the team has NCAA National Champions in 1921, 1927,  1944, 1946, and 1947. In addition, the team carries a total of 29 Big Ten Championships.
The Fighting Illini women's track and field team began play in 1976.[ citation needed ] The indoor track and field team won five Big Ten Championships in 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996. The outdoor track and field team won the 1970 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship   and six Big Ten Championships in 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, 2005 and 2007.
Women's volleyball started in 1974.,  Since moving into Huff Hall from the Kenney Gym in 1990, the Illinois Volleyball team has remained in the top 10 in the nation for average home attendance. In 2013, the program broke its previous home attendance record, averaging 3,117 per match.  Kenney Gym served as the initial home court from 1974 through the 1989 season. Since the founding of the volleyball program in 1974, the Fighting Illini have had 30+ winning seasons.
The current head coach of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini is Mike Poeta, who was a two-time NCAA finalist for Illinois. He replaced Jim Heffernan, who retired in 2021. State Farm Center is the current home arena for the wrestling team, seating approximately 15,500. Huff Hall served as home arena to the team since 1925. 
References: Men's basketball,  Men's fencing,   Men's hockey,   Men's polo,   Men's soccer,  Men's water polo  
Illinois fencing won National Championships in 1956 and 1958. Fencing was dropped as a varsity sport in 1993. Men's swimming and diving was dropped as a varsity sport in 1993, but were Big Ten Champions in 1911, 1912 and 1913.
Club sports include men's ice hockey, women's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, rowing, men's and women's rugby, tennis, men's volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's ultimate frisbee, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, and men's and women's boxing.
Both the men's and women's boxing teams compete as part of the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association. Illinois hosted the USIBA national championships in 2018, and the men's team won the 2018 and 2019 tournaments.   The women's team won the 2022 tournament. 
The men's ice hockey team has played in the Division I Central States Collegiate Hockey League conference since 1979, which is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), winning national championships in 2005 and 2008, with runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2018. A second team competes in the Division II Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association. A feasibility study published in March 2018, and commissioned by the NHL, NHLPA, and College Hockey, Inc., found a high probability of success for the hockey program to transition to NCAA Division I.  
Founded in 1963, the University of Illinois Men's Rugby Football Club plays in Division 1-A in the Big Ten Universities conference. The Illini have experienced success in college rugby, including winning several Big 10 championships in the 1980s and reaching the national semifinals in 1980, 1983 and 1985.   The Illini play their home matches in Urbana at the Complex Fields.
The men's wheelchair basketball team was founded in 1948 by Timothy Nugent in response to a large number of disabled veterans using the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Illinois.  Nugent later started a women's team in 1970. A total of 29 national championships are claimed between the men and women's teams.
Founded in 2005, Illini Rowing is one of the youngest university rowing teams in the country. They practice on Clinton Lake and in the ARC.  On Clinton Lake, they host the Illinois Collegiate Rowing Invitational where they race against many other midwestern universities.  They compete across the country in the American Collegiate Rowing Association. 
The Marching Illini is the marching band of the university. The Marching Illini is an organization which annually includes approximately 350 students. Part of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the School of Music, the Marching Illini represent virtually every college, discipline, and major on the university's diverse Urbana-Champaign campus. The band primarily performs before, during, and after University of Illinois home football games. The band also performs an indoor concert at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts featuring special lighting effects, performances by individual sections, and slightly pithy comic routines. The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music houses a collection of University Band recordings and performances and recording sessions from 1940 to 1987.  The band has several traditions such as the Pregame Show, Three-In-One, Illinois Loyalty and Oskee Wow-Wow.
Illinois Loyalty is the main school song of the university. It was first performed on March 3, 1906, and is one of the oldest songs of its kind in the United States. The song was written by Thacher Howland Guild, instructor in rhetoric and a member of the band's solo cornet section.  Due to the song's length, it is normally played only at the beginning, halftime, and end of football games.
Oskee Wow-Wow is the official fight song of the University of Illinois.  Most commonly, it is played "from the hold" at the start of the chorus, when the "O" in "Oskee Wow-Wow" is held out. This version is played after first downs and touchdowns in football, and leading into time outs in basketball. Coincidentally, the buzzers at nearly every arena are in the same chord as the hold.
For many years, the band started playing the song "from the top" toward the end of the warmup period in basketball. When conducted correctly, the "hold" is played just as the buzzer sounds.
The Oskee Wow-Wow yell is a University of Illinois spirit yell originated in 1899. The yell was modified in 1912 and 1916.  
The university has a number of notable alumni and administrators in the world of athletics. In football, notable Alumni include Dick Butkus, Red Grange, Jeff George, Simeon Rice, Ray Nitschke and George Halas. Famous basketball alumni include Dee Brown, Deron Williams, Luther Head, Derek Harper, Nick Anderson, Chuck Carney, Brian Cook, Kendall Gill, Steve Bardo, Jerry Colangelo, and Johnny Orr. Notable athletes in baseball include Lou Boudreau,  Hoot Evers  and Ken Holtzman. The university has also a number of Olympic athletes that include George Kerr, Don Laz, Daniel Kinsey, Harold Osborn, Bob Richards, and Justin Spring,
From 1926 to 2007, Chief Illiniwek was the symbol for the Fighting Illini. Chief Illiniwek was a Native American symbol portrayed by a white student.  Chief Illiniwek symbolized the Illini, a confederation of indigenous tribes who historically had inhabited much of present-day Illinois; however the clothing and regalia for the symbol was from the Sioux nation. Chief Illiniwek would perform during halftime at Illinois football and basketball games, wearing a feathered headdress and buckskin clothes, and dancing while the marching band played "Three in One", an arrangement of three original songs. It was customary for Illinois fans and attendees to raise their arms at the end of the halftime proceedings and, in unison, yell 'chief.'
In 2005, the Chief was one of 18 mascots (though Illiniwek was considered a symbol and not a mascot) cited as "hostile or abusive" by the NCAA in a policy that banned schools from full participation in postseason activities as long as they continued to use such mascots.  The University of Illinois retired Chief Illiniwek in 2007. Debate about the Chief has continued to this day.   The university chancellor appointed a Commission on Native Imagery to recommend ways "to provide closure, healing and reconciliation... to facilitate the establishment of new traditions... [and] to honor and partner with the Native Nations for whom Illinois is their ancestral home." 
The Fighting Illini are one of three Big Ten programs that do not have a mascot. (The other two are the Wolverines and the Hoosiers.) 
In the 2020 student elections, the student body voted 4222 to 3597 for a preliminary proposal to adopt a new mascot, the belted kingfisher. The female belted kingfisher, who is "naturally true to the orange and blue", would be the first female mascot in the Big Ten.  The referendum was downplayed by the university administration who said that the "results will be shared with the university administration and the board of trustees but will not result in a new mascot at this time." 
Chief Illiniwek was the mascot of the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), associated with the university's intercollegiate athletic programs, from October 30, 1926, to February 21, 2007. Chief Illiniwek was portrayed by a student to represent the Illiniwek, the state's namesake, although the regalia worn was from the Sioux. The student portraying Chief Illiniwek performed during halftime of Illinois football and basketball games, as well as during women's volleyball matches.
The Marching Illini (MI) is the marching band of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The Marching Illini is an organization which annually includes approximately 400 students enrolled in the University of Illinois. Part of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and Illini Athletics, the Marching Illini represent virtually every college, discipline, and major on the university's diverse Urbana-Champaign campus.
Oskee Wow-Wow is the official fight song of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The song was written in 1910 by two students: Harold Vater Hill '11 (1889–1917), credited with the music, and Howard Ruggles Green '12 (1890–1969), credited with the lyrics.
The Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team is an NCAA Division I college basketball team competing in the Big Ten Conference. Home games are played at the State Farm Center, located on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's campus in Champaign. Illinois has one pre-tournament national championship and one non-NCAA tournament national championship in 1915 and 1943, awarded by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. Illinois has appeared in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament 32 times, and has competed in 5 Final Fours, 9 Elite Eights, and has won 18 Big Ten regular season championships.
The 2007–08 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2007–08 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Bruce Weber's fifth season at Illinois. The team finished with 5–13 conference and 16–19 overall records. A runner-up finish in the Big Ten tournament, and the play of freshman guard Demetri McCamey highlighted the season. Shaun Pruitt was the lone all-Big-Ten honoree; he was named to the all-Big-Ten third team by the press.
The 2006–07 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2006–07 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Bruce Weber's fourth season at Illinois. The team finished with 9–7 conference and 21–10 overall records. The Illini advanced to the semifinal round of the Big Ten tournament and were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Illinois Fighting Illini men's ice hockey team is a college ice hockey program that represents the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The Illini play on campus at historic 1,500-seat University of Illinois Ice Arena. They are a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) at the ACHA Division I level. The team is a member of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) within the ACHA. The team operates as a registered student organization (RSO) at the University of Illinois. The University does not currently have an NCAA varsity team, and thus the club team is the highest level of hockey offered by the University. A feasibility study published in March 2018, and commissioned by the NHL, NHLPA, and College Hockey, Inc., found a high probability of success for the hockey program to transition to NCAA Division I. Illinois however reversed course in May 2022, announcing that they were no longer exploring adding a varsity hockey program.
The Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball team is an NCAA Division I college basketball team competing in the Big Ten Conference. Home games are played at State Farm Center, located on University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign's campus in Champaign.
Rodney Adams Fletcher was an American basketball player for the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign who was named a consensus first-team All-American as a senior in 1951–52. A 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) guard, Fletcher led the Fighting Illini to two straight Big Ten Conference championships as well as two consecutive NCAA tournament Final Four appearances in 1951 and 1952 alongside teammate John "Red" Kerr. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in his three varsity seasons, and at the end of his collegiate career Fletcher was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1952 NBA draft, although he never played professionally.
The 2000–01 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2000–01 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. Led by first year head coach Bill Self, the Illini played their home games at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois and were members of the Big Ten Conference. They finished the season with a record of 27–8, 13–3 in Big Ten play to win a share of the Big Ten regular season title with Michigan State. They lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament to Indiana. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. They advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Arizona.
The 2002–03 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 2002-03 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Bill Self's third season at Illinois.
The 2003–04 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented 98th season University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the 2003-04 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. This was head coach Bruce Weber's first season at Illinois.
The Illinois Fighting Illini men's golf team represents the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the sport of golf. The Fighting Illini compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Big Ten Conference. They play their home matches on the Stone Creek Golf Club five miles from the university's campus, and are currently led by head coach Mike Small. The Fighting Illini men's golf program has won 20 Big Ten championships, including the last eight consecutively, and in 2013 finished as national runner-up at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships, which was the highest finish in the program's history. The Fighting Illini have qualified for the match play portion of the NCAA Championship 7 times since the stroke play/match play format was introduced in 2009, and reached the Final Four in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The 2013–14 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2013–14 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. Led by second year head coach John Groce, the Illini played their home games at State Farm Center and were members of the Big Ten Conference. They finished the season 20–15, 7–11 in Big Ten play to finish in a tie for eighth place. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament where they lost to Michigan. They were invited to the National Invitation Tournament where they defeated Boston University in the first round before losing in the second round to Clemson.
The 2013–14 Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign during the 2013–14 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Fighting Illini, led by 2nd year head coach Matt Bollant, play their home games at the State Farm Center and were members of the Big Ten Conference. They finished with a record of 9–21 overall, 2–14 in Big Ten play for a last place finish. They lost in the first round of the 2014 Big Ten Conference women's basketball tournament to Iowa.
The 2014–15 Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball team will represent University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign during the 2014–15 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Fighting Illini, led by third year head coach Matt Bollant, play their home games at the State Farm Center and were members of the Big Ten Conference. They finished the season 15–16, 6–12 in Big Ten play to finish in tenth place. They lost in the second round of the Big Ten women's tournament to Nebraska.
The 2015–16 Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball team will represent University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign during the 2015–16 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Fighting Illini, led by fourth year head coach Matt Bollant, play their home games at the State Farm Center and are members of the Big Ten Conference. In November 2015, Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois will host Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball for five games while renovations to the State Farm Center was completed. They finished the season 9–21, 2–16 in Big Ten play to finish in last place. They lost in the first round of the Big Ten women's tournament to Penn State.
The 2019–20 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2019–20 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. Led by third-year head coach Brad Underwood, the Illini played their home games at State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois as members of the Big Ten Conference. The Illini finished the season 21–10, 13–7 in Big Ten play to finish in fourth place. Their season ended following the cancellation of postseason tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Illinois–Iowa men's basketball rivalry is an intra-Big Ten Conference, college sports rivalry between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Iowa Hawkeyes. Multiple factors have played into the creation of the games between the two schools; Illinois and Iowa share a state border and are located about 242 miles (389 km) apart, and they share recruiting ground. The rivalry has been evidenced both on the court and off the court. Among the off the court elements of the rivalry, recruiting of basketball talent has resulted in battles for specific athletes. The most notable battle turned into the Pearl/Thomas Incident which began when both schools sought the services of Deon Thomas and resulted in recruiting restrictions and a one-year post-season ban for Illinois.