UC Irvine Anteaters
|UC Irvine Anteaters|
|University||University of California, Irvine|
|Conference||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"|
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.
UC Irvine 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. The Anteaters have won 28 national championships in nine different team sports, 64 Anteaters have won individual national championships, and 53 Anteaters have competed in the Olympics.
UC Irvine men's basketball has qualified for the Division II NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament four times, the NIT tournament five times, and the CIT once.
During the 1982 season the Anteaters were led by two-time first team All-American Kevin Magee. That season, UC Irvine was ranked as high as No. 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.
The Anteater women's basketball team has one Division I NCAA Tournament appearance (1995). They were seeded No. 15 and were defeated by No. 2 Stanford in the opening round.
The Anteaters hired Golden State Warriors assistant Russell Turner as the head men's basketball coach in 2010. Turner was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year after he led the Anteaters to the 2013-2014 conference regular season championship.
|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 and the Division II level in 1973 and 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 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 and nationally ranked Arizona State. The Anteaters would lose their next game to defending national champion Oregon State, having played a record 31 innings in three days for a 3rd place finish.
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 No. 6 overall National Seed in the 2009 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. In 2014, the Anteaters returned to the College World Series and earned a 5th place finish.
UC Irvine has competed in four NCAA tournaments at the College Division level during the 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973 seasons, one NCAA tournament at the Division II level during the 1974 season, and eight NCAA tournaments at the Division I level during the 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014 seasons respectively.
UC Irvine 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 Women's and Men's rowing programs continue to row as club sports. The rowing programs hope to make the best of the financial crisis, and return to being official UC Irvine sports as soon as possible. During the 2011-2012 rowing season, UC Irvine Women's and Men's rowing both earned bronze at the WIRA championships in Sacramento. At the same event, during the 2012-2013 rowing season, UC Irvine Women's Lightweight rowing earned bronze, and Men's rowing won gold. Women's Lightweight rowing finished 6th, and Men's rowing 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 four Division I NCAA tournament appearances, with NCAA berths in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013. The women's team has made two Division I NCAA tournament appearances, with berths in 2010 and 2011.
Under leaders Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC) and Anthony Hamilton (Chivas USA), the Anteater men's soccer team took a second place 2006 Big West Conference finish to eventual national champion UC Santa Barbara. The Anteaters were ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation during that season. The Anteaters made school history in 2008 by winning their first ever Big West Conference tournament championship, defeating UC Davis in the semi-finals and UC Santa Barbara in the finals of the tournament that year. UC Irvine then advanced to the 2008 NCAA tournament, where the Anteaters hosted a second-round match against Cal Poly and won in front of a sold-out crowd. That year, the Anteaters eventually fell to St. John's University in the Sweet 16. The Anteaters finished third in the Big West Conference during the 2009 regular season, but the Anteaters defeated No. 2 seed Cal Poly in the semi-finals, and No. 1 seed UC Santa Barbara in the finals of the Big West Conference tournament, to earn another bid to the NCAA tournament. UC Irvine 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 Anteaters returned to the NCAA tournament in 2011 after defeating UC Santa Barbara in overtime to win the Big West Conference tournament, and earned a No. 8 seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament. However, UC Irvine was defeated by St. Mary's in the Round of 32. In 2013, the Anteaters returned to the NCAA tournament and won their Round of 32 match on a last second goal to defeat North Carolina. However, they fell to Maryland in the Sweet 16.
The Anteater 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, then defeated No. 4 seed Wake Forest in the Round of 32, before falling to Washington in the Sweet 16. The Anteaters advanced to the 2011 NCAA tournament after winning the Big West regular-season title, but fell to San Diego in the opening round.
UC Irvine men's volleyball has established itself as one of the NCAA's most elite programs. The Anteaters have won a total of four national championships, with titles won in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013.
The Anteaters finished the 2006 season by losing a match in the NCAA semi-finals to Penn State, after winning the MPSF regular season conference title. It was the first final four appearance for the team.
The Anteaters won their first national championship in 2007, defeating IPFW 3–1 in the NCAA final. The Anteaters set a team record with 29 wins that season. Men's volleyball won its second national championship in 2009 after the Anteaters defeated USC 3-2 in a thrilling five-set comeback victory. The Anteaters won their third NCAA men's volleyball title in 2012 after once again defeating USC in the NCAA final, this time in a 3-0 sweep on the Trojans' home court Galen Center. Head coach John Speraw had guided the Anteaters to three national championships in six years but immediately after winning the national title he left UC Irvine after accepting the head coaching position at UCLA.
UC Irvine alum and former assistant coach David Kniffin took over the men's volleyball program as head coach in 2013 with lofty expectations. The Anteaters advanced to the 2013 national championship match against BYU. They defeated the Cougars in a 3-0 sweep to win back-to-back national championships. Coach 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 won three NCAA Division I national championships in 1970, 1982, and 1989.
UC Irvine's head men's water polo coach for many years was Ted Newland. As the Anteaters' head coach from 1966-2005, Newland had 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, and the team was consistently rated among the nation's top 5 programs while 'The Old Man' coached his players about commitment, dedication, and responsibility. Many world-class water polo players have been affiliated with Newland and UC Irvine, with more than 70 NCAA All-Americans and 13 Olympians being produced by the program. Four Anteaters 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 2005 and subsequently Marc Hunt, former UC Irvine All-American, was charged with continuing the school's legacy.
The UC Irvine 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. Anteater 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 UC Irvine basketball teams compete at the on-campus Bren Events Center. The volleyball teams compete at 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 UC Irvine's Crawford Athletics Complex, which houses UC Irvine's track and swimming facilities. 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 students with food, music and games at the Bren Events Center. 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 regularly in attendance.
A popular chant among UC Irvine 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 UC Irvine'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, UC Irvine used University of California, Berkeley's fight song "Big C". From 1985 to 2000, UC Irvine 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 UC Irvine's historical rivalry with the California State University, Long Beach. It continued in that format until he left in 2006, and 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)