|University||University of Illinois at Chicago|
Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League
|Athletic director||James W. Schmidt|
|Basketball arena||UIC Pavilion|
|Baseball stadium||Les Miller Field|
|Soccer stadium||Flames Field|
|Mascot||Sparky D. Dragon|
|Fight song||"Fire Up Flames"|
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. 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.
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. The team was led by Jimmy Collins from 1996 until his retirement in 2010. Howard Moore, a former assistant coach at Wisconsin, was signed as the new men's head coach in 2010. In his first season, the Flames upset #12/14 Illinois at the United Center. Moore was let go after five seasons in which the Flames went 49–111 overall. He was replaced by Indiana assistant and former Wyoming head coach Steve McClain.
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.
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. Baggio Husidić is a former MLS player who played with the Chicago Fire, he currently plays for Hammarby IF.
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. The women's softball team won the conference championship in six of seven years between 1999 and 2005.
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.
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.
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- "Illinois-Chicago to hire Indiana assistant Steve McClain as head coach". CBSSports.com.
- "NCAA National Rankings". NCAA.
- "UICFLAMES.COM Cesar Zambrano Begins Professional Career With Colorado Rapids - University Illinois Chicago Official Athletic Site". cstv.com.
- McCarron, Anthony (December 12, 2009). "New York Yankees have quite a catch in Curtis Granderson, who's a leader on and off field". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- The UIC Fury: The Who and What. UICFlames.com Retrieved on November 16, 2007.