Sports in Evansville, Indiana
Evansville, Indiana, USA is the home of three minor league professional, two semi-professional, and one amateur sports team. The city is also the home to two NCAA collegiate teams, and nine high schools that participate in the Indiana High School Athletic Association. Evansville is also the annual host to the Hoosier Nationals, a BMX National Series race sanctioned by the National Bicycle League. The Hoosier Nationals take place on the BMX course at Evansville's Burdette Park.
- 1 Professional teams in Evansville
- 2 Semi-Professional teams in Evansville
- 3 Amateur teams in Evansville
- 4 College teams in Evansville
- 5 Defunct professional teams in Evansville
- 6 Evansville events hosted
- 7 Evansville high school state championships
- 8 Notable Evansville athletes
- 9 References
Professional teams in Evansville
Evansville is currently the home of two minor league professional sports teams.
|Evansville Thunderbolts||SPHL||Ice hockey||Ford Center||2016||None||0|
|Evansville Otters||Frontier League||Baseball||Bosse Field||1995||None||2 League titles; 5 Division titles|
The Evansville Otters are a professional minor league baseball team based in Evansville. The team is part of the West Division of the Frontier League. The Otters have won two league titles (2006, 2016) and five division titles (1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006) since their inception in 1995. The team plays at Bosse Field, which has been used for minor league baseball since it opened in 1915 and is the third oldest ballpark used for professional baseball on a regular basis in the United States. The Otters were previously known as the Lancaster Scouts (1993–1994).
The Evansville Thunderbolts are a professional minor league hockey team based in Evansville. The team is part of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Thunderbolts' home arena is the Ford Center where they play all 28 of their home games. The Thunderbolts replaced the ECHL's Evansville IceMen after the IceMen's owner, Ron Geary, and the City of Evansville failed to coma to an agreement for a new lease at the Ford Center during the 2015–16 season.
Semi-Professional teams in Evansville
Evansville is the home of two semi-professional sports teams.
|Evansville Crush||Premier Arena Soccer League||Indoor soccer||Metro Sports Center||2010|
|Evansville Enforcers||Minor League Football Alliance||American football||Romain Stadium||2011|
The Evansville Enforcers are a semi-professional football team based in Evansville. The team is part of the Minor League Football Alliance and their season runs from Mid-May to Late September. The Evansville Enforcers' home field is Romain Stadium.
Amateur teams in Evansville
|Demolition City Roller Derby||WFTDA||Flat Track Roller Derby||Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum||2007||None|
|Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts||NA3HL||Ice Hockey||Swonder Ice Arena||2015||None|
The Dynamite Dolls are the A-team for Demolition City Roller Derby, a roller derby league in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) league. The team plays their home bouts at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum in downtown Evansville, Indiana.
Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts
College teams in Evansville
Evansville has two universities that field teams for the NCAA: the University of Evansville (Purple Aces) and University of Southern Indiana (Screaming Eagles). These schools have a combined 8 team national championships.
|School||Established||Division||Conference||National Titles||Championship Sport/Years|
|University of Evansville Purple Aces||1854||Div I||MVC||5||• Men's Basketball: (5) 1959*, 1960*, 1964*, 1965* and 1971*|
|University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles||1965||Div II||GLVC||3|| • Men's Basketball: (1) 1995
• Men's Baseball: (2) 2010, 2014
* NCAA College Division (now Division II) national championships
Evansville Purple Aces
The University of Evansville athletics department was built upon a foundation of success in men's basketball, including NCAA College Division (now Division II) national championships in 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1971. The team was led by legendary coach Arad McCutchan from 1946 to 1977 who led the Purple Aces to a 515–313 record. In 1977 UE began playing in NCAA Division I athletics.
Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles
Since 1990, all 15 Screaming Eagles teams have participated in their respective national tournaments and/or were ranked at the national level. USI has claimed three national championships (men's basketball, 1995; men's baseball, 2010 and 2014), finished three times as the national finalist (men's basketball, 1994 and 2004; women's basketball, 1997), and earned one third-place finish (men's cross country, 1982).
Defunct professional teams in Evansville
Evansville has had a long history with professional sports teams. Past professional organizations have included the NFL, Triple-A minor league baseball, arena football, minor league ice hockey, and professional basketball. Past Evansville major league, minor league, and semi professional teams have won a combined 17 championships.
Former professional baseball teams
|Evansville Hoosiers||Baseball||Central Interstate League||1889|
|Evansville||Baseball||Illinois–Indiana League (Two-I League)||1892|
|Evansville Blackbirds||Baseball||Southern League||1895|
|Evansville River Rats||Baseball||Three-I League||1901– 1902||B||None|
|Evansville River Rats||Baseball||Central League||1903– 1910||B||Central League Title 1908|
|Evansville Strikers||Baseball||Central League||1911||B||None|
|Evansville Yankees||Baseball||KITTY League||1912||D||None|
|Evansville River Rats||Baseball||Central League||1914– 1915||Bosse Field||B||Central League Title 1915|
|Evansville Evas||Baseball||Central League||1916– 1917||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Black Sox||Baseball||Three-I League||1919||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Evas||Baseball||Three-I League||1920– 1923||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Little Evas||Baseball||Three-I League||1924||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Pocketeers||Baseball||Three-I League||1925||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Hubs||Baseball||Three-I League||1926– 1931||Bosse Field||B||None|
|Evansville Bees||Baseball||Three-I League||1938–1942||Bosse Field||B||Boston Bees, 1938–1940
Boston Braves, 1940–1942
|Evansville Braves||Baseball||Three-I League||1946– 1957||Bosse Field||B||Boston Braves, 1946–1953
Milwaukee Braves, 1953–1957
|Three-I League Title 1946, 1948, 1956, 1957|
|Evansville White Sox||Baseball||Southern League||1966– 1968||Bosse Field||AA||Chicago White Sox, 1966–1968||None|
|Evansville Triplets||Baseball||American Association||1970– 1984||Bosse Field||AAA||Minnesota Twins, 1970
Milwaukee Brewers, 1971–1973
Detroit Tigers, 1974–1984
|American Association Title 1972, 1975, 1979|
|Evansville Outlaws||Baseball||National Semi-Pro Baseball Association||1990– 2007||Various||Semi-Pro||N.A.||US Baseball Congress Semi-Pro World Series Champions 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007|
Former professional football teams
|Evansville Crimson Giants||Football||National Football League||1921– 1922||Bosse Field||None|
|Evansville Vipers||Football||Ohio Valley Football League, 2000–2006
Mid Continental Football League, 2006–2007
|2000– 2007||Goebel Soccer Complex||None|
|Evansville BlueCats||Football||National Indoor Football League, 2003–2005
United Indoor Football, 2005–2007
|2003– 2007||Roberts Municipal Stadium||None|
|Evansville Express||Football||National Women's Football Association||2004– 2005||Goebel Soccer Complex||None|
|Tri-State Titans||Football||Mid Ohio Football League||2008– 2009||Goebel Soccer Complex||None|
|Ohio River Bearcats||Football||Great Midwest Football League||2008–2010||Reitz Bowl||GMFL Title 2008|
Former professional basketball teams
|Evansville Agogans||Basketball||National Professional Basketball League||1950–1951||Old Evansville Central High School Stadium (Current Downtown Evansville YMCA Stadium)||None|
|Evansville Thunder||Basketball||Continental Basketball Association||1984–1986||Roberts Municipal Stadium||None|
Former professional ice hockey teams
|Evansville IceMen (2008–2010)||Ice hockey||All American Hockey League||2008–2010||Swonder Ice Arena||Rod Davidson Cup Title: 2010|
|Evansville IceMen||Ice hockey||Central Hockey League
|2010–2016||Swonder Ice Arena
Evansville events hosted
From 1957 to 1975 Evansville hosted the NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Championship (Elite Eight) at Roberts Municipal Stadium, and then again in 2002. The city is also slated to host the event at the Ford Center in 2014. From 1999 to 2007 Roberts Stadium hosted the Great Lakes Valley Conference basketball tournaments, and in 2013 and 2014 the same event was held at the Ford Center.
A number of Division I NCAA events have been hosted by the city as well. In 1983 Roberts Stadium hosted the first round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, and in 1980 and 1983 it hosted the Midwestern City Conference (now Horizon League) men's basketball conference tournament.
Thunder on the Ohio
From 1938 to 1940 and 1979 to 2009, Evansville hosted Thunder on the Ohio, a hydroplane boat race in the H1 Unlimited season. The race was held on the Ohio River in downtown Evansville. The winner of Thunder on the Ohio received the Four Freedoms Trophy, which was named after the nearby Four Freedoms Monument which rests along the Ohio River. The race had frequently been broadcast on ESPN and the SPEED television network.
Thunder on the Ohio had been an Unlimited hydroplane mainstay for 30 consecutive years. "Ideal Evansville" replaced Owensboro, Kentucky, on the unlimited calendar in 1979. Evansville was the world headquarters of Atlas Van Lines, Inc., which sponsored Bill Muncey's race team. Muncey played a major role in Evansville being awarded its first sanction.
Prior to Thunder on the Ohio, the 725 Cubic Inch Class boats, the forerunners of the modern unlimiteds, raced at Evansville from 1938 through 1940. Dave Villwock had won more Evansville races than anyone else, including seven with Miss Budweiser.
The Refrigerator Bowl
From 1948 to 1956, Evanville hosted the annual college football Refrigerator Bowl. Currently, Evansville is the only city in Indiana to have hosted a college football bowl game.
|Date played||Winning team||Losing team||Notes|
|December 4, 1948||Evansville College||13||Missouri Valley College||7|||
|December 3, 1949||Evansville College||22||Hillsdale College||7|||
|December 2, 1950||Abilene Christian College||14||Gustavus Adolphus College||7|||
|December 2, 1951||Arkansas State College||46||Camp Breckinridge||12|||
|December 7, 1952||Western Kentucky State College||34||Arkansas State College||19|||
|December 6, 1953||Sam Houston State Teachers College||14||College of Idaho||12|||
|December 5, 1954||Delaware||19||Kent State||7|||
|December 4, 1955||Jacksonville State Teachers College||12||Rhode Island||10|||
|December 1, 1956||Sam Houston State Teachers College||27||Middle Tennessee State College||13|||
Evansville high school state championships
Evansville has a proud high school sport heritage, including 72 team championships. Evansville has 9 active city high schools that participate in the Indiana High School Athletic Association. The 72 team titles won by Evansville city high schools includes 17 soccer titles, 14 football titles, 12 wrestling titles, 9 basketball titles, 6 tennis titles, 6 golf titles, 5 baseball titles, 2 softball titles, and 1 bowling title. Defunct IHSAA high schools from Evansville that are no longer active include Evansville Rex Mundi and Evansville Lincoln.
|School||Established||Conference||State Team Titles||Championship Sport/Years|
|Evansville Bosse||1924||SIAC||3||• Boys Basketball: (3) 1943–44, 1944–45, 1961–62|
|Evansville Day School||1946||IHSAA Independent||0|
|Evansville Harrison||1962||SIAC||2||• Girls Golf: (1) 1988–89 • Boys Golf: (1) 2011–12|
|Evansville Mater Dei||1949||SIAC||18||• Baseball: (1) 1998–99 • Softball: (1) 2015-16 • Boys Basketball: (1) 2003–04 • Girls Basketball: (2) 2011–12, 2012-13 • Football:(1) 2000–01 • Wrestling: (12) 1985–86, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2005–06, 2006–07|
|Evansville Memorial||1922||SIAC||30||• Baseball: (3) 1977–79, 1988–89, 1992–93 • Football: (2) 1937–38*, 1958–59* • Boys Soccer: (13) 1979–80*, 1980–81*, 1981–82*, 1983–84*, 1984–85*, 1986–87*, 1988–89*, 1989–90*, 1990–91*, 1992–93*, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2016-17 • Girls Soccer: (4) 1988-89*, 1996–97, 2008–09, 2012-13 • Softball: (1) 2001–02 • Girls Tennis: (6) 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2011-12 • Girls Basketball: (1) 2010-11|
|Evansville North||1956||SIAC||6||• Baseball: (1) 1961–62* • Boys Basketball: (1) 1966–67 • Boys Golf: (1) 1999-00 • Girls Golf: (3) 2014-15, 2015–16, 2016-17|
|Evansville Reitz||1918||SIAC||13||• Girls Basketball: (1) 1980–81 • Football: (11) 1933–34*, 1940–41*, 1948–49*, 1953–54*, 1956–57*, 1957–58*, 1960–61*, 1961–62*, 1971–72*, 2007–08, 2009–10 • Bowling: (1) 2011-12+|
|Evansville Signature||2002||IHSAA Independent||0|
* = indicates title won before IHSAA State Tournament was initiated
+ = indicates sanctioned by the Indiana High School Bowling Association
Notable Evansville athletes
- Alan Benes, MLB baseball player
- Andy Benes, MLB baseball player
- Jamey Carroll, MLB baseball player
- Bob Coleman, MLB manager, Evansville minor league baseball coach, Indiana Baseball Hall of Famer
- Charlie Dexter, MLB baseball player
- Ervin "Pete" Fox, MLB player
- Charles Knoll, MLB baseball player
- Clarence "Big Boy" Kraft, MLB baseball player
- Don Mattingly, MLB baseball player and coach
- Edd Roush, MLB Baseball Hall of Famer
- Jack Warner, MLB baseball player
- Jeff Schulz, MLB baseball player
- Jim "Lefty" Wallace, MLB baseball player
- Paul Splittorff, MLB baseball player
- Ray Newman, MLB baseball player
- Sam Thompson, MLB Baseball Hall of Fame
- Al Schellhase, MLB baseball player
- Syl "Sammy" Simon, MLB baseball player
- Arad McCutchan, basketball hall of fame coach
- Bruce Pearl, former NCAA basketball coach for the University of Southern Indiana
- Bob Ford, ABA basketball player and collegiate telecaster
- Calbert Cheaney, NBA basketball player
- Dave Schellhase, NBA basketball player
- Don Buse, NBA basketball player and former All Star
- Gus Doerner, NBA basketball player
- Jerry Sloan, NBA basketball coach
- Larry Humes, NCAA basketball All-American for the University of Evansville
- Marv Bates, University of Evansville basketball sportscaster and former Indiana Sportscaster of the Year
- Ted Bernhardt, NBA basketball referee
- Walter McCarty, NBA basketball player
- Frank Kramer, 18-time national sprint bicycling champion, 2-time Grand Prix de Paris Champion, first American to win the World Professional Sprint Championship, US Bicycling Hall of Famer
- Billy Hillenbrand, NFL football player
- Bob Griese, NFL All-Star, All-Pro, Hall of Famer
- Budd Boetticher, Ohio State University football player
- Deke Cooper, NFL football player
- Don Hansen, NFL football player
- Don Ping, NCAA football coach
- Doug Bell, NFL football player, and Kodak All-American at Ball State University
- Kevin Hardy, NFL football player
- Larry Stallings, NFL linebacker
- Ray "Bibbles" Bawell, NFL football player
- Scott Studwell, NFL linebacker
- Sean Bennett, NFL football player
- Bob Hamilton, PGA professional golfer and winner of the 1944 PGA Championship
- Brian Tennyson, PGA Tour, Asian Tour golfer; winner of 1987 Indian Open & 1987 Philippine Open
- Darrett Brinker, Web.com Tour professional golfer
- Jeff Overton, PGA professional golfer
- Chic Anderson, sportscaster
- Hillsdale ((Thoroughbred)), one of only 5 horses in history to sweep the prestigious Santa Anita's Strub Stakes Series
- David Weir, European club soccer player, Scottish national team captain, University of Evansville All-American
- Josh Tudela, MLS and USL soccer player
- Scott Cannon, MLS soccer player
- Steve Klein, MLS and USL soccer player
- Byron "Buddy" Buckley, Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Famer
- Louise Owen, tennis player
- Sara Turber, formerly ranked second in the world in Lawn Tennis
- Woodie Sublette-Walker, Chief of tennis officials for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
Track & Field
- Charles Hornbostel, United States Olympic Track & Field team member in 1932 and 1936
- Roger Brown, Evansville, Indiana (United States), 1984 Big Ten Outdoor champion for Indiana University, high jump 7-0.25" (2.14)
1986 Billy Hayes Inv. Outdoor Record, Jumped 7-1.75 (2.18)Champion
- Andrew Thomas, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling producer and referee
- Ralph Wilson, professional wrestler
- Rudy Charles, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling referee
- "Evansville will be home to Southern Professional Hockey League franchise". Evansville Courier & Press. February 8, 2016.
- "Missouri Valley's Streak Of 41 Grid Wins Snapped". The Hartford Courant. December 5, 1948.
- Evansville Athletics – Football
- "EVANSVILLE ON TOP, 22–7; Pins First Defeat on Hillsdale in Refrigerator Bowl". The New York Times. December 4, 1949.
- Athletic Hall of Fame – Gustavus Adolphus College
- "Arkansas State Wins Refrigerator Bowl". The Washington Post. December 3, 1951.
- Western Kentucky University Official Sports Site
- "REFRIGERATOR BOWL GAME WON BY W. KENTUCKY". Chicago Daily Tribune. December 8, 1952.
- ‘Yote Notes – Aug
- BuckeyeXtra – The Columbus Dispatch : Former Buckeye helped rebuild Kent State program
- "DELAWARE BEATS KENT STATE, 19–7; Wins in Refrigerator Bowl as Zaiser Scores Twice in Fourth Period". The New York Times. December 6, 1954.
- "Rhode Island Loses Refrigerator Bowl Duel To Jacksonville, Ala., State, 12–10". The Hartford Courant. December 5, 1955.
- ESPN – Middle Tennessee bowl history – College Football