|Illinois State Redbirds|
|University||Illinois State University|
|Conference||Missouri Valley Conference
Missouri Valley Football Conference
Midwest Independent Conference (women's gymnastics)
Summit League (men's tennis)
|NCAA||Division I / FCS|
|Athletic director||Larry Lyons|
|Varsity teams||19 (8 men's, 11 women's)|
|Football stadium||Hancock Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Redbird Arena|
|Baseball stadium||Duffy Bass Field|
|Soccer field||Adelaide Street Field|
|Fight song||Go, You Redbirds|
|Colors||Red and White
The Illinois State Redbirds are the athletic teams that represent Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Teams play at the NCAA Division I level (FCS in football). The football team competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while most other teams compete in the Missouri Valley Conference. The fight song is Go, You Redbirds.
Illinois State began its athletics program more than 100 years ago. The school, which had already been an NCAA Division I competitor for a decade, left behind its independent status in 1980 and affiliated itself with the Missouri Valley Conference. From 1981 to 1992, Redbird women's teams competed under the Gateway Conference banner before women's sports were absorbed into the Missouri Valley Conference.
In 1923, athletics director Clifford E. "Pop" Horton and the Daily Pantagraph sports editor Fred Young collaborated to change the university's nickname from "Teachers." Horton wanted "Cardinals" because the colors were cardinal and white (set in 1895-69). Young changed the nickname to "Red Birds" to avoid confusion in the headlines with the St. Louis Cardinals. It took roughly 10 years for Red Birds to become one word. Since that time, Illinois State Athletics' fans have been enjoying the rich success that nearly all Redbird Athletics teams have enjoyed.
From approximately 1910-1970, Illinois State was affiliated with the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Athletics at Illinois State consists of 17 intercollegiate sports, having won 125 league titles in 23 years.
On 7 April 2015, seven men died when a privately owned Cessna 414 carrying Redbirds men's basketball coach Torrey Ward, Deputy Director of Athletics Aaron Leetch, and five community members and athletics supporters crashed. The group was returning from Indianapolis, where they attended the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Final. The plane crashed in a soybean field outside of Central Illinois Regional Airport in McLean County. The University and Athletics Department memorialized the victims in several ways, including a uniform patch worn by all 19 teams throughout the 2015–16 sports seasons. In addition, a permanent memorial called Redbird Remembrance directly in the heart of the Redbird Athletics.
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Track and field†||Swimming and diving|
|Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
Missouri Valley Conference Titles
Missouri Valley Conference Titles: 1983, 1989, 2005, 2008, 2009
NCAA Appearances: 1983, 1985, 1989, 2005, 2008
Women's National Invitation Tournament Appearances: 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Missouri Valley Conference Regular Season Titles: 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Titles: 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
NCAA Appearances: 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
First season: 1996
All-Time Record: 225-145-37 (.600)
All-Time Missouri Valley Conference Record: 82-25-11 (.746)
10 Missouri Valley Conference Players of the Year
Missouri Valley Football Conference Championships: 1999, 2014, 2015
NCAA Division I Football Championship Playoffs: 1998, 1999, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
FCS National Championship Game
|January 10, 2015||Toyota Stadium||NDSU||29||Illinois State||27|
|November 23, 1950||Corn Bowl||Missouri-Rolla||7||Illinois State||6|
|December 4, 1999||Pecan Bowl||Illinois State||37||Hofstra||20|
|December 1, 2006||Pecan Bowl||Youngstown State||28||Illinois State||21|
Illinois State's softball team played in the Women's College World Series eight times in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978 and 1981. The team finished as runner-up in the first WCWS in 1969, and in 1973, falling to Arizona State, 4-3, in 16 innings in the title game. On the day of the 1973 defeat, Redbirds pitcher Margie Wright heroically hurled 30 innings in three games. Ironically, for pitching too many innings in one day, a three-woman Illinois sports commission suspended her from pitching in any game in her upcoming senior season and also banned the softball team from post-season play in 1974. Wright went on to play professional softball, followed by a 33-year head coaching career. She coached the Redbirds from 1980–85, followed by 27 years at Fresno State, where she became the first NCAA Division I softball coach to reach 1000 wins and the NCAA's all-time winningest softball coach.:23–24
|NCAA||Division II||Baseball (1)||1969||Southwest Missouri State||12–0|
Track & Field
Basketball starters introduced
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