UIC Flames

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UIC Flames
University University of Illinois at Chicago
Conference Horizon League
Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League
NCAA Division I
Athletic director James W. Schmidt
Location Chicago, IL
Varsity teams 14
Basketball arena UIC Pavilion
Baseball stadium Les Miller Field
Soccer stadium Flames Field
Mascot Sparky D. Dragon
Nickname Flames
Fight song "Fire Up Flames"
     Indigo Blue       Flame Red
Website uicflames.cstv.com

The UIC Flames are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of Illinois at Chicago. They are called the Flames as a reference to the Great Chicago Fire, and their team colors are navy blue and fire engine red. Approximately 300 student athletes compete in 18 varsity sports.[citation needed] The Flames participate in NCAA Division I athletics as part of the Horizon League in baseball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball. The Flames also compete in gymnastics in the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League. Jim Schmidt is the current Athletic Director and has been at the university for 25 years.


UIC Athletics began with the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) in the 1880s with their basketball and football teams whose team colors were red (blood) and iodoform (iodine). P&S eventually affiliated with and then became absorbed into the University of Illinois forming its College of Medicine.

In 1946, the Chicago Illini represented the two-year University of Illinois undergraduate division located on Navy Pier. In 1965 the Chicago Illini moved to Harrison and Halsted to represent the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle campus. Upon this move the team became known as the Chicas, a shortening of Chicago, this was changed "Chikas" due to taunting from other teams knocking them ("chicas" means "girls" in Spanish). This spelling was rationalized as being a reference to the Chickasaw tribe. It was dropped in the seventies.

During the late 1970s, the program was simply known as “Circle.” In 1982 the University of Illinois Medical Center campus consolidated with Circle Campus to form the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC); a contest was held for students to rename the athletics teams. The winning entry was The Flames as a reference to the Great Chicago Fire.[citation needed]


The University of Illinois at Chicago sponsors teams in nine men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[1]

Note: *The men's gymnastics team competes in the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League, and the women's gymnastics team competes in the Midwest Independent Conference.


UIC Pavilion, home of the UIC Flames

The UIC Pavilion currently serves as the home of the Flames' basketball teams. The men's basketball team competed in the NCAA tournament in 1998, 2002, and 2004, and appeared in the NIT in 2003, but have not advanced past the first round in either tournament.[citation needed] Howard Moore, a former assistant coach at Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball, was signed as the men's basketball team's new head coach in 2010. He replaced Jimmy Collins. In his first season, the Flames beat #12/14 Illinois at the United Center.


UIC's men's soccer team was ranked as high as #6 in the NCAA national polls in 2006 and made it to the second round of the 2006 National tournament, where they lost to Notre Dame. The following year, the Flames reached the "Elite Eight" in the NCAA soccer playoffs. As of 2011, they have been ranked #142 in the NCAA national rankings, out of 204 teams.[2]

Jay DeMerit played for UIC's men's soccer team and currently plays for and captains the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer, and was a former captain of Watford whom he played for in the Premier League and the Championship. Jay also is a former member of the US national team, whom he represented in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Another Flame, Pat McMahon received an offer to play in Scotland in 2009.[3] Baggio Husidić is a former MLS player who played with the Chicago Fire, he currently plays for Hammarby IF.

Other sports[edit]

UIC's Women's Tennis Team currently holds a fifteen-year Horizon League championship streak and, as of April 19, 2009, is currently on a 111 conference match winning streak dating back to 1996.[4] The women's softball team won the conference championship in six of seven years between 1999 and 2005.[citation needed]

The men's baseball team won nine consecutive regular season championships from 2001-2009[citation needed]. Current New York Met Curtis Granderson played baseball for the UIC Flames.[5]

UIC had a Men's Ice Hockey team before the program was discontinued in the spring of 1996.

The men's swim team won the Horizon League Championships in 2009. Swimming & Diving 2007 alumni Blake Booher qualified for the 2008 Olympic Swimming Trials in the 50 Freestyle. 2011 alumni Steve Yemm qualified for the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials in the 100 & 200 Butterfly.

UIC Fury[edit]

The Fury is the official student booster club of the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Athletics. The Fury registers over 1,000 new members each year, and to this date is the largest student organization on campus. The organization is free to join for UIC students with these goals: increasing student spirit on campus and at all Flames athletic events; creating the most exciting and intimidating atmosphere at our home, the UIC Pavilion, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and providing an excellent opportunity to meet people through a shared interest in athletics.[6]