The Eastern Illinois Panthers are the intercollegiate athletic programs of Eastern Illinois University (EIU) located in Charleston, Illinois, United States. The Panthers athletic program is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and competes at the NCAA Division I level including the Football Championship Subdivision. EIU's colors are blue and gray. Selected as the team mascot in 1930, EIU's panther, was informally known as "Billy" for many years and was officially named "Billy the Panther" in 2008. Panther teams have won five NCAA national championships in three sports. The Panthers also won the 1969 NAIA men's soccer title.
Eastern Illinois athletics began in the school's very first year, with the inaugural football team taking the field only three weeks after the first students arrived on campus in 1899.
A member of the Ohio Valley Conference, Eastern Illinois University sponsors teams in ten men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:
- ^ Rugby is an NCAA "emerging sport" which is fully sanctioned, but does not yet have a national championship. Eastern Illinois competes as an independent.
- ^ a b c The men's soccer team and the men's and women's swimming teams compete as associate members of The Summit League
- 1981 NCAA Division II World Series Runner-Up.
- All time tournament results
||First Round Winner
||First Round Loser
- 1978 Division II National Champion, 1980 National Runner-Up.
- NCAA Division I Football Championship tournament appearances: 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, & 2009, 2012, 2013.
- All time tournament results
- NCAA Division II runners-up in 1978, 3rd in 1977, and 4th in 1974.
- Stripped of 1981 Division I 3rd-place finish.
- 1969 – NAIA National Champion.
Men's cross country
- 1968 – NCAA College Division National Champions
- 1969 – NCAA College Division National Champions
- 1977 – NCAA Division II National Champions
Men's track and field
Team Championships (men's):
- 1974 – NCAA College Division National Champions
- 1955 – Ray White, NAIA Long Jump
- 1967 – John Craft, NAIA Triple Jump
- 1969 – John Craft, NCAA College Division Triple Jump
- 1972 – Rodney Jackson, NCAA College Division 400 hurdles
- 1973 – Rodney Jackson, NCAA College Division 400 hurdles
- 1974 – Darrell Brown, NCAA Division II Long Jump
- 1975 – Toni Ababio, NCAA Division II Long Jump
- 1975 – Toni Ababio, NCAA Division II Triple Jump
- 1976 – Ed Hatch, NCAA Division II 400 Meter Dash
- 1979 – Robert Johnson, NCAA Division II 110 hurdles
- 1981 – Augustine Oruwari, NCAA Division II 110 hurdles
- 1988 – Jim Maton, NCAA Division I 800 meter run (Indoor)
- 1992 – Dan Steele, NCAA Division I 400 hurdles
Notable former athletes
- Tim Bogar, retired Major League Baseball infielder
- Brad Childress, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings
- Henry Domercant, professional basketball player in Europe
- Kevin Duckworth, former NBA All-Star forward
- Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback for the New England Patriots
- Kyle Hill, professional basketball player in Europe
- Matt Hughes, 2x NCAA All-American wrestler, former UFC Welterweight Champion
- Marty Pattin, former MLB baseball pitcher for the California Angels, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals
- Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints
- Kenny Robertson, 4x NCAA Division I qualifier for wrestling; current mixed martial artist for the UFC
- Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys
- Micah Rucker, former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Giants; also played in the Arena Football League
- Mike Russow, current mixed martial artist
- Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins
- Chris Szarka, retired Canadian Football League fullback
- Pierre Walters, NFL linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs
- Jeff Gossett, former NFL punter for the LA/Oakland Raiders and 3 other NFL teams
- Ted Petersen, retired NFL Offensive/Defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts
- Matt Veach, current mixed martial artist