- University of California, Irvine Anteaters
UC Irvine's Athletics program participates in the NCAA's Division I, as members of the Big West Conferenceand the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The UC Irvine Anteaters is the nickname used for the sports teams.
UCI 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 UCI Men's basketball team has had three twenty-win seasons in recent years and four total. They have made it into the Division II NCAA Tournament twice, and the
NITtournament four times. During the 1982 season led by two-time first team All American Kevin Magee, UCI was ranked as high as 19th in the nation in Division I basketball. In 1986, they swept UNLV. In the 2007-08 school year, UCI made a run in the Big West Tournament, beating Long Beach State, Pacific, and UC Santa Barbara in 3 days, before finally losing to Cal State Fullerton in the championship game. The UC Irvine Women's basketball team had one Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995, when they were champions of their conference, and won the conference tournament; however, they lost in the first round.
Since the return of baseball in 2002 (the sport was eliminated in 1992 due to state budget cuts), UC Irvine has been ranked as high as #4 in the country and has been at the top of the Big West Conference standings, which is one of the top Division I Baseball Conferences in the country. In June 2007, the UC Irvine baseball team participated in the
College World Seriesfor the first time ever in school history. The Anteaters shocked the nation, and made Series history, becoming the first team to ever win two extra-inning College World Seriesgames back-to-back, by beating (and eliminating) Cal State Fullerton (5-4, F/13), followed by nationally ranked Arizona State (8-7, F/10), only to lose their next game to defending National Champions, and well rested, Oregon State, having played a record 31 innings in three days to finish in the Final Four. Furthermore, 8 of the players from the current roster have been selected by major league teams in the 2007 MLB Draft.
UCI fields both a men's and women's crew team, which practice in
Irvine Soccer has been a key part of the success of the Big West in soccer. Last year, under leaders Brad Evans (Columbus Crew), Anthony Hamilton (Chivas USA), and Cameron Dunn (unsigned), the anteater Men's soccer team, took a second place finish to UCSB, beating them late in the season, shortly before UCSB went all the way and won the NCAA tournament. That year, the team was ranked as high as number No. 1 in the West region and 7th in the nation. Both the Men's and Women's teams play their home games at Anteater Stadium.
Both Men's and Women's Volleyball have seen success in the past few years. The women's team has made it to the NCAA Tournament the past two years and the men's team was ranked #1 in the country at one point during the 2003 Season and traditionally is in the top 15 every year. The Men's team finished the 2006 Season losing in the NCAA Final Four national semifinals to Penn State, after winning the
MPSFregular season conference title. It was the first Final Four appearance for the men's team.
In 2007, the men won their first National Championship, defeating IPFW 3-1 in the Final. They finished the season with a team record 29 wins.
The most successful athletic program at UCI has been the [http://www.mwater.uci.edu/ mens water polo] team coached by Ted Newland. Newland is 714-345-5, a collegiate record, as the Anteaters’ head coach from 1966-2005. In his 39 years at the helm, the Anteaters won NCAA Division I championships in 1970, 1982 and 1989. Moreover, the team has been a consistent contender among the nation's top 5 teams in the 40 years UCI has existed and 'The Old Man' coached his players about commitment, dedication & responsibility during his tenure.
Newland became Coach Emeritus in August 2005, and Marc Hunt, former UCI All-American, has been charged with continuing the UCI legacy.
The UCI Sailing Team has been key in keeping a winning tradition for the Anteaters since 1965. They were one of Irvine's founding athletic teams.
They compete in the Inter Collegiate Sailing Association. Within the ICSA they have won a total of eleven national titles: 1990, 1988, 1972 for ICSA Co-ed Dinghy Championships; 1988, 1971, 1969, 1968, 1967 for ICSA Team Racing National Championships; 2005, 1980 for ICSA Sloop National Championships; 1993 for ICSA Men's Single-handed National Championship.
The Pacific Coast Collegiate Conference Championship is the equivalent to most other sports' Big West Championship. UCI Sailing has won twenty conference championships since 1965.
They practice off rented space on a dock owned by Orange Coast College in Newport Harbor.
The UCI basketball teams competes at the on-
campus Bren Events Center. Their volleyball team competes at the nearby Crawford Hall, however, they use 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 UCI's track and swimming facilities. The men's and women's crew launch out of a boathousein the Newport Back Bay, and practice in the Newport Harbor.
A student spirit squad known as the [http://www.cia.anteaters.com/index2.html Completely Insane Anteaters] is the largest student group on campus and is the second largest student spirit group on the West Coast. An incentives-based club, the more games CIA Members attend, the more prizes they receive.
A more recent annual event is [http://www.athletics.uci.edu/MKT/midnightmagic.htm 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 the UCI Students with food, music and games at the
Bren Events Center. Then, 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 the one of the biggest student events on campus, with over 1,500 people in attendance.
A popular chant among UCI 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 UCI'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, UCI used
University of California, Berkeley's fight song "Big C". From 1985 to 2000, UCI used "Anteaters Go!" (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 supposedly commemorates UCI's historical rivalry with the California State University, Long Beach. It continued in that format until he left in 2006. 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:
* [http://uci.edu/athletics.shtml UC Irvine Athletics Portal]
* [http://www.athletics.uci.edu/ UCI Intercollegiate Athletics]
* [http://www.campusrec.uci.edu/ UCI Campus Recreation]
* [http://www.cia.anteaters.com/index2.html Completely Insane Anteaters]
* [http://www.athletics.uci.edu/MKT/Tickets.html UCI Athletics Ticket Information]
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