UC Irvine Anteaters

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UC Irvine Anteaters
Logo
University University of California, Irvine
Conference Big West Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Mike Izzi
Location Irvine, CA
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium Anteater Stadium
Basketball arena Bren Events Center
Baseball stadium Cicerone Field
Other arenas Crawford Hall
Nickname Anteaters
Fight song "Anteaters, Go!" and "The Big C"
Colors
     Blue       Gold
Website www.ucirvinesports.com
Anteater Mascot

The UC Irvine Anteaters is the nickname used for the sports teams.

UCI sign at Crawford Hall – the athletic complex.

Its Athletics program participates in the NCAA's Division I, as members of the Big West Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

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.

Sports[edit]

Basketball[edit]

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 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.

Baseball[edit]

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, UCI has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the country. In 2007, UCI participated in the College World Series for the first time in school history. The Anteaters became the first team to ever win two extra-inning College World Series games back-to-back, defeating and eliminating both Cal State Fullerton and 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. In 2014, the Anteaters returned to the College World Series and earned a 5th place finish.

The man who helped rebuild UCI's baseball program, manager Dave Serrano, left after the 2007 season to manage at Cal State Fullerton. Mike Gillespie, who is best known for leading USC to the 1998 national championship, replaced Serrano and is the current manager of the Anteaters.

Soccer[edit]

UCI soccer plays its home games at Anteater Stadium. The men's team has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation and has made five Division I NCAA tournament appearances with berths in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014. In addition, since the introduction of the Big West Conference Tournament for soccer in 2008 the Anteaters have won the tournament championship four times. The women's team has made two Division I NCAA tournament appearances with berths in 2010 and 2011.

Notable Anteater soccer alumni include United States men's national team member Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC).

Volleyball[edit]

UC Irvine men's volleyball has won a total of four national championships, with titles in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013.

The Anteaters made their first final four appearance in 2006, losing in the NCAA semi-finals to Penn State. They won their first national championship in 2007 by defeating IPFW 3–1 in the NCAA final. UCI won its second national championship in 2009 after defeating USC 3-2 in a five-set comeback victory in the NCAA final. The Anteaters won their third NCAA men's volleyball title in 2012 after defeating USC again in the NCAA final, this time in a 3-0 sweep at the Galen Center. UCI's longtime head coach John Speraw had guided the Anteaters to three national championships in six years but immediately after winning the 2012 national title he left UCI after accepting the head coaching position at UCLA.

UC Irvine alum and former assistant coach David Kniffin took over the Anteater program in 2013 and became just the second head coach in NCAA men's volleyball history to win a national championship in his first season. In the 2013 NCAA final the Anteaters defeated BYU in a 3-0 sweep to win back-to-back national championships.

Water polo[edit]

UC Irvine's men's water polo team won three NCAA Division I national championships in 1970, 1982, and 1989.

UCI'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 three national championships, and the team was consistently rated among the nation's top 5 programs. Many world-class water polo players have been affiliated with UCI, 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.

Sailing[edit]

UC Irvine's sailing team has been key in keeping a winning tradition for the Anteaters since 1965. They were one of UCI's founding athletic teams, and they compete in the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association. Within the ICSA they have won a total of eleven national championships, 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). Anteater sailing has also won twenty two conference championships in the Pacific Coast Collegiate Conference.

Facilities[edit]

Basketball court of the Bren Events Center before a game

The UCI basketball teams compete at the on-campus Bren Events Center. The volleyball teams compete at the nearby Crawford Hall, while using 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 the track and swimming facilities.

Student traditions[edit]

A UC Irvine alumnus shows President Obama how to do the "Rip 'em Eaters" hand sign.

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
Beat Each Opposing Foe
Oh We'll Win The Battle Tonight
U-C-I, Fight!

We [a]'re Marching To Victory
Colors Aloft, For All To See
Oh How Faithful We'll Always Be
Oh True To The Blue and Gold

U-C-I-Zot
U-C-I Zot Fight, Fight, Fight

To Alma Mater We Sing
Long Let Our Praises Ring
Oh All Hail To Irvine
U-C-I
We are the Sons of California,
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)
C (clap, clap, clap)
I (clap, clap, clap)
Fight! (clap, clap, clap)

UCI Zot, Fight, Fight, Fight!

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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