SIU Edwardsville Cougars
|SIU Edwardsville Cougars|
|University||Southern Illinois University Edwardsville|
|Conferences||Southern Conference – Wrestling|
|Athletic director||Dr. Brad Hewitt|
|Varsity teams||8 men's & 8 women's|
|Basketball arena||Vadalabene Center|
|Baseball stadium||Roy E. Lee Field at Simmons Cooper Baseball Complex|
|Soccer stadium||Ralph Korte Stadium|
|Fight song||Mighty Cougar Roar|
The SIU Edwardsville Cougars are the intercollegiate athletic teams of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), located in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Cougars athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and competes at the NCAA Division I level. The SIUE Athletic Department fields a total of sixteen varsity teams in nine sports each for men and women. Cougar teams have won seventeen NCAA national championships in five sports.
- 1 NCAA Division I
- 2 Teams
- 3 Athletic facilities
- 4 Athletic director
- 5 Mascot
- 6 Fight song
- 7 Honors
- 8 Club sports
- 9 References
- 10 External links
NCAA Division I
In 2007 the university began the transition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 2008. The 2011–12 season was the Cougars' first campaigns for the Ohio Valley Conference regular season titles, although they were not eligible for post-season play until 2012–13 except in softball and men's soccer, which were "fast-tracked" by the NCAA.
SIUE had competed in Division II since initiating athletics during the 1967–68 school year, except men's soccer, which competed in Division I from 1973 through 1995. From 1994 to 2008, the Cougars were members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).
SIUE entered intercollegiate athletic competition during the 1967–68 school year. At that time, college athletics was almost exclusively the realm of the male student athlete, but times were on the verge of change. On October 4, 1972, SIUE's first women's team took the field, as women's athletic director and coach Rosemarie Archangel's field hockey team played and won its first game.
Men's Intercollegiate Sports
Women's Intercollegiate Sports
Roy Lee initiated the baseball program in 1967–68 and headed it for its first eleven years. In that time, he garnered a record of 237–144–3, leading his teams to 8 consecutive NCAA Division II playoffs and 3 Division II College World Series, with a runner-up finish in 1976.
After Coach Lee's retirement, the program was led by SIUE alumnus Gary Collins. In his 34 years as the Cougars' coach, Collins won 1028 games (with 766 loses & 7 ties). While still in Division II, his teams made 14 NCAA appearances and went to the Division II College World Series 5 times. He led them into Division I and the Ohio Valley Conference, where the Cougars completed their first season in the OVC with an overall record of 27-28 and a conference record of 13-14, which tied for fifth place in the ten team league.
On July 11, 2012, it was announced that Gary Collins would be making the transition from coach to the University's first Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics. The following day, it was announced that, after thirteen seasons as Collins' assistant, SIUE alumnus Tony Stoecklin was named acting head coach with the opportunity to earn the permanent job.
The Cougar men's basketball program was begun as a Division II program in 1967 by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Harry Gallatin who had no scholarships, inadequate facilities, and almost no money to work with. The program has since seen mixed success under 7 coaches, with the most successful having been Larry Graham (147–84 with 3 NCAA DII appearances in 8 seasons from 1984–92) and Marty Simmons (88–59, 2 DII NCAAs in 5 seasons from 2002–07).
The Cougars' women's program first took to the court in 1974. For 29 of its first 38 seasons, it was guided by Wendy Hedberg who amassed a record of 470–361 and led her teams into the NCAA Division II tournament 5 times.
Coaches Lennox Forrester and Amanda Levens were in charge during SIUE's move from Division II to Division I and competing in the Ohio Valley Conference. On May 4, 2012, it was announced that Coach Forrester's contract had been extended for three more years.
Picked by the OVC coaches to finish eighth of the eleven teams, the women's Cougars finished the 2011-12 season 12-4 in the conference and in third place. This and their 18-11 regular season record earned them an invitation to the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) tournament and earned OVC Women's Coach of the Year honors for Levens. On April 20, 2012, the University announced that Levens had resigned to accept the position of associate head coach at Arizona State University, her alma mater.
Cross country and track and field
SIUE's men's cross country team initiated competition in the Fall of 1968, winning its first dual meet. The men's outdoor track and field team began a year later, coached by Jack Whitted and lost its first meet. And so did the programs muddle through for many years, with highs, lows, and a few shining successes along the way.
When SIUE began to emphasize excellence in its athletic programs as much as in academics, the track and field program came of age. Between 2004 and 2008, when the move to Division I began, SIUE became an NCAA Division II powerhouse. In that short span, 16 men won 36 All-American awards, yet they were overshadowed by the Cougar women, with 15 winning 70 All-American certificates and capturing 6 individual National Championships.
Current coach Eileen McAllister (XC) and former coach Kareem Jackson (T&F) and have not yet seen that level of success in Division I, but their athletes have toppled school records with regularity, which bodes well for the programs' future. In the 2013 outdoor season, long jumper La'Derrick Ward became the first Division I Cougar athlete to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On September 17, 2013, it was announced that Jackson had followed his predecessor, David Astrauskas, to also become an assistant coach at Wisconsin, and that McAllister would be the interim head track and field coach, as well as the head cross country coach.
In the 2014 indoor season, both La'Derick Ward and triple jumper Jatavia Wright qualified for the NCAA championships, giving the Cougars representation in both the men's and women's competitions. On March 14, Ward finished 6th in the men's long jump and became SIUE's first Division I Track and Field All-American. The following day, Wright finished 11th in the women's triple jump and earned a spot on the All American second team.
Bill Brick started the men's golf program in the spring of 1968. Although he had quick success, he soon left to further his own education. He was replaced by SIUE's first athletic director and basketball coach, Harry Gallatin, who remained at the program's helm for 24 years, leading his teams to the NCAA DII championships 19 times--- including 6 top 10 finishes. Fourteen of his golfers earned 22 All-American awards or honorable mentions. Soon after Gallatin's retirement, the university decided to discontinue the program.
In 2005–06, the program was resurrected, with funding raised by friends and alumni, following the example of the support for the wrestling program (see below). SIUE alumni Mark Marcuzzo and Kyle Viehl, who had both played for Gallatin, were appointed head coach and associate. Marcuzzo left after that first season, replaced by Vielh who led the program into DI competition. When Viehl departed in 2010, he was replaced by current coach Derrick Brown.
Larry Bennett began the women's program in 1998–99. The team qualified to compete in the NCAA Division II East Regional five times, 2002–06. Jennifer Jakel was its 3rd coach from '06-07, leading the program into Division I and the Ohio Valley Conference, until leaving in July, 2013.
On June 24, 2013, ground was broken for a new golf training facility. Pending approval of the SIU Board of Trustees, it is to be named the Harry Gallatin Golf Training Facility.
On July 29, 2013, men's coach Derrick Brown was named Director of Golf, making him the head coach of both the men's and the women's programs.
National Soccer Hall of Fame coach Bob Guelker came to SIUE in 1966 to start the men's soccer program. He had previously also begun the program at St. Louis University, where his teams won 5 NCAA titles, including the very first in 1959. As coach of the Cougars, he led them for 19 seasons, compiling a record of 216–67–21 and winning the very first Division II title in 1972 and the Division I championship in 1979 in their 14 NCAA tournament appearances.
Coach Guelker was succeeded by Ed Huneke, who remained for 22 seasons, building a record of 251–155–34 with 7 NCAA tourney appearances. In the mid-1990s SIUE had reluctantly moved from Division I to Division II, yet the move heralded a return to the NCAAs, including 3 Semifinals and a Division II runner-up finish. From 2007 through 2013, the program was headed by Kevin Kalish, who led it back into Division I, including competition in the Missouri Valley Conference.
On December 6, 2013, Scott Donnelly, Associate Head Coach since 2012, was named as the Cougars' fourth head coach.
Begun in 1982, the women's program has been a consistent winner under 7 head coaches (or coaching combos), who have garnered a record of 298–190–41, with 5 appearances in the NCAA playoffs. The program is currently headed by Derek Burton, who has taken it into Division I in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The SIUE softball program, has seen only 2 head coaches in its history. Cindy Jones (376–201, 1975–88) and Sandy Montgomery (884–441–2 since 1989) have combined for a record of 1260-642-2 record thru 2013, with 13 NCAA appearances.
In 2007, SIUE won their last sixteen consecutive games of the season en route to the NCAA Division II softball championship, where they defeated Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania 3–2 in 12 innings (the longest championship game in history).
The 2012 Cougars completed their first full season of Ohio Valley Conference play with an overall record of 23-29 and an OVC record of 14-16, which tied for seventh place in the eleven team league.
Unlike some of the other coaches who started up Cougar sports programs, Kent DeMars at least had scholarships to offer when he began the men's tennis program in 1973–74. With these, he was able to put Cougar tennis on the map in short order, finishing 2nd in NCAA Division II in the team's first year of eligibility. This was followed by seven (7) consecutive DII National Championships.
Bob Meyers inaugurated the women's program in 1979–80 and found almost as much rapid success as DeMars, winning the first of four (4) consecutive NCAA DII Championships in 1986.
In 1986, Meyers also became head coach of the men's team, following DeMars' departure, and both teams have since mostly shared one coaching staff. Since coach Meyer's departure following the '89 women's title, the programs have seen mixed success and have not approached the success of the championship years.
Sandy Montgomery began the volleyball program in 1995 and coached for its first four years, guiding it to a record of 83–54 and its first appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament in 1998. Todd Gober led the program for a decade, with a record of 205–112 and 3 NCAA appearances in 2005–07 before beginning the transition to Division I. Leah Johnson became SIUE's 4th volleyball coach in 2011 as it began competition in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Larry Kristoff started the SIUE wrestling program in 1969 with resources similar to those available to soccer coach Bob Guelker, basketball coach Harry Gallatin, and baseball coach Roy Lee--- next to none. He quickly developed one of the dominant Division II programs. In 30 seasons, his teams were consistently top competitors and won back-to-back-to-back NCAA Division II championships in 1984–86 and were runners-up in 1975 and 1987. Kristoff's program was initially unaffected when the university de-emphasized athletics in the mid-1980s, but went into decline after its championship years when the recruiting budget was repeatedly decreased despite the program's success.
Following the 2003–04 season, the SIUE administration decided to eliminate the wrestling program. A number of staunch supporters and alumni formed the Friends of Wrestling that has since raised monies from sources outside the university to maintain the program.
David Ray, the 4th coach since Kristoff's retirement was in charge as the program made the move to Division I and competition in the Southern Conference (the OVC does not sponsor wrestling) until it was announced on April 12, 2013 that he had tendered his resignation to accept a position in the university's administration.
On July 19, 2013, after a nationwide search, Cornell assistant coach Jeremy Spates, who had mentored Kyle Dake, Cornell's four-time national champion and the NCAA's 2013 Most Outstanding Wrestler, was named the new Cougar coach. At the conclusion of Spates' first season, senior David Devine won the Southern Conference heavyweight championship, becoming the first Cougar wrestler to advance to the NCAA National Championships since SIUE's move to Division I.
Success & scandal
During the 1970s and early '80s the SIUE Cougars were extremely successful in several sports, winning multiple NCAA championships in men's soccer, wrestling, and both men's and women's tennis. In 1983, it was discovered that two men's tennis players who were both All-Americans and NCAA champions were "majoring in tennis" and neglecting to attend classes. It further came to light that the men's basketball coach had violated a number of the NCAA's restrictions on recruiting. While the tennis program was able to defend its string of NCAA Division II championships by winning their seventh title in a row in 1984, the university took the almost unprecedented action of suspending the men's basketball program for the 1983-84 season. Additionally, the athletic director was assigned to other duties within the university, with other actions against him held in abeyance, as he was a tenured professor. After these events, the university severely reduced funding to all athletics, and the overall program went into a period of decline.
The following are among the athletic facilities used by SIUE Cougar teams:
- Ralph Korte Stadium & Bob Guelker Field "The Ralph" is a 4,000-seat outdoor stadium that serves as the home for men’s and women’s soccer and track & field programs. The playing field of FIFA-approved artificial turf is named for the Cougars' Hall Of Fame soccer coach (see above). In 2011, placement of a berm on the east side of the stadium was begun to provide seating on the grass. The stands at The Ralph is one of the places on the SIUE campus from where the Gateway Arch can be seen, 20 miles (32 km) to the southwest on the St. Louis riverfront.
- The Sam M. Vadalabene Center "The VC" is a multi-purpose facility that opened in 1984 and is the home for Cougars basketball, volleyball, and wrestling teams; it was host to the 1986 & '87 NCAA Division II wrestling championships. The VC contains a 4,000 seat arena, an indoor pool, classrooms, offices, and several activity areas. It is immediately adjacent to the Student Fitness Center which opened in 1993 and contains a wide range of recreation and fitness facilities. In 2008, as the school began its transition to Division I, the Vadalabene Center underwent a $6 million makeover. The renovation nearly tripled the number of chair back seats, increased the seating from 2,400 to 4,000, and added a new locker room, classroom, and office spaces. Since the renovation, the VC's largest crowd has been the sold-out crowd of 4,157, in attendance to see the Cougars men's basketball team play 10th ranked (in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll) Murray State, on January 21, 2012 in the Cougars' first nationally televised (on ESPNU) home game. This did not, despite expectations, surpass the crowd of January 8, 1987, when--- with the fire marshal conspicuously absent--- 4,392 avid fans managed to cram into the VC to witness the SIU Carbondale Salukis narrowly escape an upset at the hands of the then-Division II Cougars (final score, SIUC 84-SIUE 83 in overtime).
- Roy E. Lee Field at Simmons Baseball Complex is the home for the SIUE baseball program. The playing field is named for the coach who started the program (see above). Seating 1,500 spectators, the fully lighted stadium has an artificial turf infield, natural grass outfield (to be replaced with artificial turf), and electronic scoreboard. The dugouts and locker rooms were newly constructed for the 2011 season.
- Cougar Field (aka Cougar Stadium) is the home to SIUE Softball. The stadium seats 1000+ in the stands and more on the lawn beyond the outfield fence. It is lighted for night games and has a locker room with showers and restroom, team meeting room, and training room to provide the Cougars with top-tier facilities. The Cougars and their visitors both have full dugouts. January, 2012 saw the dedication of a new 110' x 110' (33.53m x 33.53m) indoor practice facilility adjacent to the stadium.
- Cougar Tennis Courts located just to the west of the Vadalabene Center, feature six hardcourt surfaces with courtside chairback seating. They were opened on May 15, 1980, in time to host the NCAA’s men's Division II national championship finals. The men's NCAAs returned in 1990, and the women's Division II championships were held on the Cougar Courts in 1982 & '89.
- SIUE Cross Country Course has permanently marked 5K, 6K, 8K & 10K courses that are 98% grass along their routes. The courses occupy a 10 acre site on University Drive just south of New Poag Road on the scenic SIUE campus. The courses have been host to numerous NCAA Division II Regional and conference championships and to IHSA regionals and sectionals.
In August 2002, Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Relations Dr. Bradley Hewitt, an SIUE administrator since 1989, was appointed Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, the 7th in the school's history. With his appointment, Dr. Hewitt was assigned the twofold task of returning SIUE athletics to the glory of the 1970s & 80's, when the Cougars won 16 NCAA championships, and expanding that success through the entire spectrum of the university's athletic program. During the first six years of his term, SIUE sent Cougar teams or individual athletes to 48 NCAA Division II championship competitions. The Cougars earned 3 top-15 finishes in the U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup, and they twice won both the GLVC All-Sports Trophy and the Commissioner's Cup. And... in 2007, the softball team won the NCAA Division II National Championship--- SIUe's first national title since 1989.
In the Fall of 2007, Dr. Hewitt was assigned new tasks--- preparing Cougar athletics for entry into NCAA Division I competition and arranging for affiliation with a Division I athletic conference. The softball and men's soccer were able to be "fast-tracked" into Division I competition, with all other sports becoming full members of Division I in the Fall of 2012. Membership was secured for all but 2 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference in July 2008; in November 2008, the men's soccer team gained associate membership in the Missouri Valley Conference; in June 2011, the wrestling team was accepted as an associate member of the Southern Conference.
A 1981 mathematics graduate of Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri), Hewitt also earned his masters degree in athletic administration from CMSU in 1982 and received his Ph.D. in education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1994; he is also a 2006 executive management graduate of the Sports Management Institute. Prior to coming to SIUE, he was an athletic administrator and coach at Morningside College (Iowa), SIUC, and CMSU. At SIUe, Dr Hewitt has served as an assistant athletic director, acting CEO of the SIUE Foundation, acting Vice Chancellor of University Relations, adjunct professor in Kinesiology and Health Education, acting Alumni Director, as well as his current double-duty of Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Athletics & Academics
As proud as he is of SIUE's athletic success, Dr. Hewitt is even more proud of its academic success. Concerning the Cougars' Fall of 2013 achievements, he said, “I commend our student-athletes for their continued success in the classroom. SIUE is committed to academic excellence for our student-athletes and will continue to provide a structure in which all can fulfill their academic goals.”
In the Fall of 2013, SIUE student-athletes recorded a combined 3.097 grade point average (GPA). This marked the 15th consecutive semester that the Cougar student-athletes posted a combined GPA of greater than 3.0. The women’s golf team finished with the highest team GPA for the third-consecutive semester with a 3.598. They were followed by women’s cross country (3.545), women’s soccer (3.321), softball (3.262), men’s golf (3.26), men’s tennis (3.233), women’s tennis (3.222), men’s soccer (3.130), women’s track and field (3.121), volleyball (3.108), women’s basketball (3.103) and baseball (3.03).
On June 12, 2013, the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) report (based on cumulative progress from 2008-09 through 2011-12) showed that fifteen SIUE programs outperformed the national average. Eight teams led their sport in the Ohio Valley Conference (more than for any other OVC school), and wrestling was second in the Southern Conference.
Additionally, four programs (men’s cross country, women’s soccer, softball, and women’s tennis) were honored by the NCAA for recording a perfect 1000 in the multiyear APR scores.
In February 1968, through the efforts of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the university acquired a young cougar that had been born at the San Diego Zoo the previous August and adopted by Thomas Blackshear. The cub, named Danie, was donated to SIUE by Blackshear's mother, Mrs. Nonette Lewis, following his untimely death. A “Name the Cougar” contest was held to rename the cub, and Mary Ann Kucinick won with the name, Chimega--- the Apache word for cougar.
Chimega, possessed of a warm and patient personality, soon became the university's beloved mascot. She resided in a large cage just to the south of the University Center that was topped with a geodesic dome designed by visiting professor R. Buckminster Fuller. She was cared for by a student organization aptly named the Cougar Guard, who accompanied her on her twice-daily walks around the core campus and to a myriad of university activities, especially including athletic events. (In keeping with the times, the Cougar Guard was originally all-male, but eventually became co-ed.) Chimega mated in 1974 and bore two cubs, one stillborn, the second dying within hours. In the summer of 1982, having become less patient with people than she had always been, Chimega was retired from active mascot service. She passed away in March 1985 and was buried near the pond located east of the classroom building now known as Founder's Hall.
In January, 1983, a second cougar, seven-month-old Kyna--- Welsh for wise or graceful lady--- became SIUE's second live mascot. Chimega's cage had been divided in two and a large, caged run would later be added. At one time, Kyna was released by pranksters/vandals. Later, she had severe health issues after eating a soccer ball. Due to liability insurance issues, she was restricted from interacting with the public in late 1986. Then, in June, 1987, the university administration, without consulting students, staff, or alumni, donated Kyna to an exotic animal park. Despite protests, Kyna did not return, and SIUe has since been without a live cougar mascot.
In 2007, the university unveiled the bronze cougar statue in front of the Morris University Center, "a monument" to commemorate Chimega and Kyna.
In January 2010, Eddie the Cougar made his first appearance as the costumed SIUE mascot, replacing Corey the Cougar. Eddie has since made appearance at many campus events, wearing number 57, which commemorates SIUE's founding in 1957.
Mighty Cougar Roar
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Fight Song
Words: Darryl Coan
Music: Kim Archer
Mighty Cougars, Fearless Cougars!
Show your claws of might!
S - I - U - E,
S - I - U - E,
Ready for the fight!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Mighty Cougars, Fearless Cougars!
Cougars Pride Forevermore!
See the charge and feel the fury!
Hear the mighty Cougar roar!
S! I! U! E!
NCAA National Championships
SIUE Cougar teams have won one NCAA Division I National Championship and 16 NCAA Division II National Championships.
Division I National Championships
Men's Soccer – 1979
Division II National Championships
Athletics Hall of Fame
The SIUE Athletics Department established its Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor outstanding athletes, coaches, teams, and other contributors to the SIUE athletic programs.
These individuals and teams have been honored through 2013:
Individuals (Sport/Other Reason)
- 2013 Inductees indicated by *
Through the 2013-14 academic year, 206 SIUE athletes have earned 436 All-American awards. (Some athletes were honored in more than one year; tennis and track & field athletes can be honored for multiple events in a single season; some wrestlers earned both Division I & Division II awards in the same year.)
SIUE All-Americans with number of awards in parentheses:
There are also many student-run sports clubs at SIUE under the sponsorship of the Department of Campus Recreation.
Included are these competitive sports:
- OVCSports.com - OVC Member Institutions
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
- SIUE : Missouri Valley Conference Adds SIU Edwardsville, Central Arkansas as Men's Soccer Affiliates
- SIUE : SIUE Wrestling Accepted as Associate Member of Southern Conference
- SIUE : Collins Transitions from Head Coach to Development
- SIUE : Stoecklin Named Acting Head Baseball Coach
- SIUE : Men’s Basketball Celebrates Season; Forrester’s Contract Extended
- Women's Basketball Invitational | March 2013
- SIUE : Paula Buscher Named SIUE Women’s Basketball Head Coach
- SIUE Archives - SIUE 50th Anniversary Historical Timeline
- Ward Makes History at NCAA National Championships - SIUE
- SIUE's Jackson Named Assistant Coach at Wisconsin - SIUE
- Ward Places Sixth at NCAA Nationals - SIUE
- Wright Earns All-American Status - SIUE
- SIUE : SIUE Athletics Breaks Ground on Golf Training Facility
- Derrick Brown Named SIUE’s Director of Golf; Men’s Schedule Completed - SIUE
- SIUE : Cougars Celebrate Senior Day
- Spates tabbed new SIUE wrestling head coach | Deep Fried Sports
- Devine Advances to NCAA Championships - Illinois Matmen Forums
- Ken Flach and Robert Seguso have overcome scandal and - 08.10.87 - SI Vault
- Division II Wrestling Championship History - NCAA.com
- Campus Recreation - Student Fitness Center
- SIUE : Grand Re-Opening of Vadalabene Center Set for Saturday
- SIUE : No. 10/12 Murray State Downs Cougars to Remain Unbeaten
- SIUE : SIUE Softball Indoor Facility Opens
- Division II Men's Tennis Championship History - NCAA.com
- Division II Women's Tennis Championship History - NCAA.com
- SIUE : APR Report Shows Shows Academic Success
- SIUE Archives - History of the SIUE Cougar Mascot
- SIUE News - ArchivesSEP2007
- Division I Men's Soccer Championship History - NCAA.com
- Division II Men's Soccer Championship History - NCAA.com
- Division II Softball Championship History - NCAA.com
- Campus Recreation - Club Sports