UC Irvine Anteaters
|UC Irvine Anteaters|
|University||University of California, Irvine|
|Conference(s)||Big West Conference|
|Athletic director||Mike Izzi|
|Football stadium||Anteater Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Bren Events Center|
|Baseball stadium||Cicerone Field|
|Other arenas||Crawford Hall|
|Fight song||"Anteaters, Go!" and "The Big C"|
|Colors||Blue and Gold
UC Irvine's Athletics program participates in the NCAA's Division I, as members of the Big West Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The UC Irvine Anteaters is the nickname used for the sports teams.
UCI fields nationally competitive teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming & diving, men's and women's tennis, women's indoor track & field, men's and women's outdoor track & field, men's and women's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and co-ed sailing.
UCI men's basketball has had four twenty-win seasons total. They have qualified for the Division II NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament twice, the NIT tournament four times, and the CIT once.
During the 1982 season the Anteaters were led by two-time first team All-American Kevin Magee. That season, UCI was ranked as high as #19 in the nation for NCAA Division I basketball. During the 1986 season the Anteaters were led by future NBA player and current head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Scott Brooks.
Women's basketball at UCI has one Division I NCAA Tournament appearance (1995). They were seeded #15 and were defeated by #2 Stanford in the opening round.
The Anteaters hired Golden State Warriors assistant Russell Turner as the head men's basketball coach in 2010, deciding to part ways with former coach Pat Douglass. Coach Turner led the #4 seeded Anteaters to the Big West Tournament championship game in 2013, after upsetting #1 seeded Long Beach State in the tournament semi-finals. However, UC Irvine was defeated by Pacific in the championship game.
|Season||Record||Conference Record||Position in Conference||Postseason|
|2013||21–16||11–7||4th||Big West Tournament Finals|
|2012||12–20||6–10||6th (tie)||Big West Tournament Semifinals|
|2011||13–19||6–10||7th (tie)||Big West Tournament 1st Round|
|2010||14–18||6–10||7th (tie)||Big West Tournament 1st Round|
|2009||12–19||8–8||4th (3-way tie)||Big West Tournament 1st Round|
|2008||18–16||9–7||5th||Big West Tournament Finals|
|2007||15–18||6–8||5th||Big West Tournament Semifinals|
|2006||16–13||10–4||2nd||Big West Tournament Semifinals|
|2005||16–13||8–10||5th||Big West Tournament Quarterfinals|
|2004||11–17||6–12||8th (tie)||Did not qualify|
|2003||20–9||13–5||2nd (tie)||Big West Tournament Semifinals|
|2002||21–11||13–5||1st (tie)||Big West Tournament Semifinals
NIT 1st Round
|2001||25–5||15–1||1st||Big West Tournament Semifinals
NIT 1st Round
|2000||14–14||7–9||3rd in West||Big West Tournament Quarterfinals|
UC Irvine's baseball team won two national championships at the College Division (1973) and the Division II level (1974), prior to moving to Division I. The program was eliminated in 1992 due to state budget cuts, but was reinstated in 2002.
Since the return of its baseball program in 2002, UC Irvine has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the country. The team has been at the top of the Big West Conference, which is considered by some to be one of the top Division I baseball conferences in the country. In June 2007, UC Irvine participated in the College World Series for the first time in school history. The Anteaters shocked the nation and made series history, becoming the first team to ever win two extra-inning College World Series games back-to-back, defeating (and eliminating) both Cal State Fullerton (5–4, F/13), and nationally-ranked Arizona State (8–7, F/10). The Anteaters would lose their next game to defending national champion Oregon State, having played a record 31 innings in three days to finish in the Final Four.
The man who helped rebuild the program, manager Dave Serrano, left after the 2007 season to manage at Cal State Fullerton. Mike Gillespie replaced Serrano, and is the current manager of the Anteaters. He is best known for leading USC to a national championship in 1998. The team continued its success during the 2009 season, when the Anteaters were the champions of the Big West Conference, and earned the #6 overall National Seed in the 2009 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.
UC Irvine has competed in four NCAA tournaments at the College Division level (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973), one NCAA tournament at the Division II level (1974), and seven NCAA tournaments at the Division I level (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
UCI previously sponsored both a men's and women's crew, which practice in Newport Harbor. As of the summer of 2009, they were cut by the Athletics Department who cited budget concerns as the reason for their decision. The Crew continues to row as a club sport with a new coach, Duvall Hecht, Olympic champion who established rowing at UC Irvine in 1965. The rowing program hopes to make the best of the financial crisis and return to being an official UCI sport as soon as possible. During the 2012-2013 rowing season, UC Irvine men's rowing won gold at the WIRA championships in Sacramento. They also finished 5th at the ACRA national championship in Georgia.
UC Irvine soccer has been a key part of the success of the Big West Conference. Both the men's and women's teams play their home games at Anteater Stadium. The men's soccer team has made three Division I NCAA tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2011). The women's team has made two Division I NCAA tournament appearances (2010, 2011).
Under leaders Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Anthony Hamilton (Chivas USA), and Cameron Dunn (unsigned), the Anteater men's soccer team took a second place 2006 Big West Conference finish to eventual NCAA champion UCSB. The Anteaters were ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation during that season.
Men's soccer made school history in 2008 by winning their first ever Big West Conference championship. The Anteaters defeated UC Davis in the semi-finals, and UC Santa Barbara in the finals of the Big West Conference tournament. UCI advanced to the 2008 NCAA tournament, where the Anteaters hosted a second-round matchup against the Cal Poly Mustangs and won in front of a sold-out crowd. The Anteaters eventually fell to St. John's University in the Sweet 16.
Men's soccer finished third in the Big West during the 2009 regular season, but the Anteaters defeated #2 seed Cal Poly in the semi-finals, and #1 seed UC Santa Barbara in the finals of the Big West tournament, to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. UCI earned a No. 16 seed and received a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament, but were eliminated by Stanford in the Round of 32.
The women's soccer team made their first Division I NCAA tournament appearance in 2010 after winning the Big West regular season championship with a perfect 8-0-0 conference record. The Anteaters earned a No. 16 seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament. They defeated #4 seed Wake Forest in the Round of 32, before falling to Washington (0-1 2Ot.) in the Sweet 16.
UCI men's soccer won the 2011 Big West Conference tournament after defeating UCSB (3-2 Ot.) in the final. The Anteaters earned a No. 8 seed and received a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament, but fell to St. Mary's (1-2 2Ot.) in the Round of 32. The women's team also advanced to the 2011 NCAA tournament after winning the Big West regular-season title, but fell to San Diego in the opening round.
Men's volleyball at UCI has established itself as one of the NCAA's most elite programs. The Anteaters have won a total of four national championships (2007, 2009, 2012, 2013).
The Anteaters finished the 2006 Season losing in the NCAA Final Four national semifinals to Penn State, after winning the MPSF regular season conference title. It was the first Final Four appearance for the men's team.
The Anteaters won their first national championship in 2007, defeating IPFW 3–1 in the Final. They finished the season with a team record 29 wins.
UCI men's volleyball won its second national championship in 2009, defeating Southern California.
UC Irvine won its third NCAA men's volleyball title in 2012, sweeping Southern California 25-22, 34-32, 26-24 on the Trojans' home court Galen Center. Head coach John Speraw had guided the Anteaters to three national championships in six years (2007, 2009, 2012). After winning the national title, coach Speraw left UCI after accepting the head coaching position at UCLA. Subsequently, UCI alum and former assistant coach David Kniffin took over the program.
The Anteaters advanced to the 2013 national championship match against BYU. They defeated the Cougars 3-0 (25–23, 25–22, 26–24) to win back-to-back national championships. Head coach David Kniffin became just the second coach in NCAA men's volleyball history to win a national title in his first season, and junior Connor Hughes was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player with 11 kills in the championship match.
The most successful athletic program at UCI has been the men's water polo team. The program has won a total of three NCAA Division I national championships (1970, 1982, 1989).
UCI's head men's water polo coach for many years was Ted Newland. As the Anteaters' head coach from 1966-2005, Newland has a lifetime record of 714–345–5. In his 39 years at the helm, the Anteaters won NCAA Division I championships in 1970, 1982, and 1989. The team has been a consistent contender among the nation's top 5 programs, and 'The Old Man' coached his players about commitment, dedication, and responsibility during his tenure. Many world-class athletes have been affiliated with Newland and UCI, with 70+ NCAA All-Americans and 13 Olympians being produced by the program. Four of those Olympians were a part of the United States team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Ted Newland became Coach Emeritus in August 2005. Marc Hunt, former UCI All-American, has been charged with continuing the UCI legacy.
The UCI Sailing Team has been key in keeping a winning tradition for the Anteaters since 1965. They were one of UC Irvine's founding athletic teams, and they compete in the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association. Within the ICSA they have won a total of eleven national titles, winning in ICSA Co-ed Dinghy Championships (1972, 1988, 1990), ICSA Team Racing National Championships (1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1988), ICSA Sloop National Championships (1980, 2005), and ICSA Men's Single-handed National Championships (1993).
The Pacific Coast Collegiate Conference Championship is the equivalent to most other sports' Big West Championship. UCI Sailing has won twenty two conference championships in the Pacific Coast Collegiate Conference since 1965, they practice off rented space on a dock owned by Orange Coast College in Newport Harbor.
The UCI basketball teams competes at the on-campus Bren Events Center. Their volleyball team competes at the nearby Crawford Hall, however, they use the Bren for some games where high attendance is expected. The baseball team plays in Anteater Ballpark, which is located behind the Mesa Parking Structure. Anteater Stadium itself is part of UCI's Crawford Athletics Complex, which houses UCI's track and swimming facilities. The men's and women's crew launch out of a boathouse in the Newport Back Bay, and practice in the Newport Harbor.
A more recent annual event is Midnight Magic, which occurs on the first day the UC Irvine basketball teams begin official practice. The second Friday of every October, the athletics department hosts a big party for the UCI Students with food, music and games at the Bren Events Center. Then, at midnight, both the men's and women's basketball teams are introduced to the crowd and partake in scrimmages, three-point shooting contests and a slam-dunk contest. Midnight Magic is one of the biggest student events on campus, with over 1,500 people in attendance.
A popular chant among UCI students during athletic events is "Zot, Zot, Zot!" Zot is the sound made by the tongue of the anteater in the comic strip B.C. as it flicks out to catch an ant. This is usually accompanied by the "Rip 'em Eaters" hand sign which is similar to the "Hook 'em Horns" hand sign of the University of Texas at Austin. One of the on-campus eateries is named "B.C.'s Cavern on the Green", named in honor of the comic strip B.C. The Anteater mascot was promoted by 3 students in UCI's founding year, Bob Ernst and Pat Glasgow of the water polo team, and rowing team member Schuyler Bassett. The mascot name was brought to a vote to the student body where irregularities were suspected in the voting process.
Prior to 1985, UCI used University of California, Berkeley's fight song "Big C". From 1985 to 2000, UCI used Anteaters Go! (music by Shannon Roberts and Alan Cates, lyrics by class of 1985 alumni Lori White). In 2000, Marketing Director Blake Sasaki required the Pep Band to use the UC Fight Song as their main fight song, re-branded as "The Big C", which commemorates UCI's historical rivalry with the California State University, Long Beach. It continued in that format until he left in 2006. Currently, the two campus fight songs, often sung at athletic or spirit events, are Anteaters Go! as the main fight song, and the UCI Fight Song as the alternate:
|Anteaters Go!||The Big C|
Go Mighty Anteaters Go
We [a]'re Marching To Victory
Long Let Our Praises Ring
Oh All Hail To Irvine
Fighting for the Gold and Blue
Palms of glory we will win
for Alma Mater true
Long Beach State will soon be routed
By our dazzling "C"
And when we serpentine
Their black will turn to green
In our hour of victory!
U (clap, clap, clap)