Drake earns Bulldogs nickname in 1908 thanks to Art Gordon, sports editor of the Des Moines Register. Then football coach John L. Griffith had two Bulldogs on the sideline during a football game, causing Gordon to dub the team “the Bulldogs”.
Drake concludes the only perfect season in their football history, defeating Mississippi State 48-6 in the annual Thanksgiving Classic game. The Bulldogs would finish 7-0-0 and share the national championship in some national polls. They were invited to the White House for their accomplishments. Drake also won the Missouri Valley Conference football championship in 1928 and 1929.
Drake wins the 1930 and 1931 Missouri Valley Conference football championships. In 1931, the Bulldogs played Hawaii in the Aloha Classic, falling 19-13, becoming the first Iowa team to visit the state of Hawaii.
In 1930, the Bulldogs play the first night football game at Soldier Field in the intersectional night games, losing a close contest to the Oregon 14-7.
Bulldogs sweep the cross county, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field Missouri Valley Conference titles in 1970-71 school year. A total of five men’s indoor track & field titles were won in the decade.
Drake football returns to the MVC in 1971, 20 years after the Johnny Bright Incident and 15 years after it returned for non-football sports.
Women’s basketball wins three Missouri Valley Conference Championships and advances to six postseason tournaments. They advance to NCAA Elite Eight in 1982 (ironically, their loss to Maryland in that game, 89-78, features what remains the highest single-game individual scoring record in women’s collegiate postseason history, Lorri Bauman with 50).
Drake Relays celebrates its seventy-fifth birthday in 1984.
Football team chooses to not to award athletic scholarships ("grants-in-aid") following 1985 season.
Soccer is upgraded from an NCAA Club Division I sport to fully funded NCAA Division I sport in 1986.
The Drake club men’s ice hockey team is ranked #1 in the ACHA polls for seven straight weeks before falling in the National Tournament Elite Eight in 1998-99 season. The Bulldogs qualified for the postseason tournament nine times in the decade, the most out of any NCAA Division I Club team.
2007-08 men’s basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles. They advanced to the NCAA tournament, finishing with a school best 28-5 record. The next season, Drake would play in the College Insider.com postseason tournament.
Drake University also hosts the Drake Relays during April. This track and field event has been held since 1910, and is the second-largest collegiate track and field event in the United States. Participants come from all over the world to compete in this three-day event, which also helps to draw large crowds of spectators to Des Moines. Many Olympic athletes can be found participating in these events, which commonly break national and world records.