Indiana State Sycamores

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Indiana State Sycamores
University Indiana State University
Conference Missouri Valley
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Ron Prettyman
Location Terre Haute, IN
Varsity teams 12
Football stadium Memorial Stadium
Basketball arena Hulman Center
Mascot Sycamore Sam
Nickname Sycamores
Fight song March On! (You Fighting Sycamores)
     Sycamore Blue       White

The Indiana State University Sycamores are the intercollegiate athletic teams of Indiana State University. They are members of the Missouri Valley Conference, joining in the 1977-78 academic year; 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 members of the Gateway Conference (est. 1985) prior to the Gateway merging with the Missouri Valley Conference in 1992.


'Sycamores' nickname and evolution of mascot[edit]

Early on in the school's history, the athletes were referred to as the "Fighting Teachers" (the school's original name 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. 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 and did not have another mascot until 1995, when a blue-and-white "furry woodland creature" named "Sycamore Sam" was developed to replace Chief Quabachi and continues to serve as Indiana State's mascot.[1]


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 in 1969.[2] The university dropped Chief Quabachi as a mascot in 1989.[3]


Indiana State University sponsors six men's and eight women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports:[4]

Current (and discontinued) programs have won more than 75 conference titles.


Men's basketball[edit]

Women's basketball[edit]



National Team Championships[edit]

As of July 2nd, 2014, Indiana State has won 1 NCAA team championship. [6]

Kurt Thomas led the Men's Gymnastics Team to the 1977 NCAA National Championship. In 1973 and 1979, they men finished 3rd place 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 Men's Basketball team won the 1950 NAIB National Championship and finished as National Runner-up in 1946 and 1948.

They were the NCAA College Division (Div II) National Runner-up in 1968 and the NCAA Division I National Runner-up in 1979.

The 1950 team sent 8 players to the 1951 Pan-American Games Gold Medal-winning Team. Head Coach John Longfellow also served as co-head coach of the Pan-American team.

National Individual Championships[edit]

Indiana State has won 29 NCAA Individual Championships.

  • Holli Hyche (Indoor/Outdoor Track) - 7

(Indoor 55M, 200M 1993 & 1994) (Outdoor 100M, 200M 1993, Outdoor 100M 1994)

  • Kurt Thomas (Gymnastics) - 5

(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 Titles (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)

All-Americans (116)[edit]

Indiana State has produced 115+ All-Americans:

  • The Men's Gymnastics Team leads with 38 All-Americans (1969-1980).[7]
  • The Football Team has 31 All-Americans (1967-2013)
  • The Mens's Basketball Team has produced 14 All-Americans (1930-1979)
  • The Baseball Team has produced 26 All-Americans (1963-2000)
  • The Wrestling Team produced 7 All-Americans (1933-1986)[8]

Conference Champions (98)[edit]

Indiana College Athletic League (1900-1922)[edit]

3 titles in baseball.

Indiana Intercollegiate Conference (1923-1947)[edit]

11 titles in baseball and men's basketball.

Indiana Collegiate Conference (1950-1968)[edit]

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)
  • 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)[edit]

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

Missouri Valley Conference (1977-Present)[edit]

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 championships are pulled from the media guides available at or from the Indiana State archives (each yearbook from 1896-1993 is available)[9]

Championship Host[edit]

Indiana State University has hosted ten (2002, 2004–2011, 2013) NCAA Division I cross country championships at the spectacular LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. They have been selected to host the 2014 and 2016 championships.[10] They will also host the 2017 NCAA Great Lakes Regionals in cross country.[11]

The University hosted the 1975 NCAA Gymnastics National Championships.

Indiana State University hosted the 10th NCAA Wrestling Championships in 1937; remarkable considering the school had yet to establish a wrestling program.


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[edit]

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. They are known as the Blue and White Basketball Bands.

Athletes & Coaches[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Brown, J. Thomas (2006), Essay on History and Heritage - Traditions 
  3. ^ Feagin, Le'Sashea (2007), A Short History of the Fighting Sycamore Name 
  4. ^
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  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]