Illinois Fighting Illini

by Joshua Brown
Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illinois Fighting Illini (often referred to as the Illini) are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The university offers 10 men’s and 11 women’s varsity sports, and is a member of the Big Ten Conference in all sports except water polo, which competes in Division I/II CWPA. All of the university’s athletics programs participate in NCAA Division I. The school also sponsors an extensive club sport program with over 35 different activities offered on campus yearly.

The fighting Illini nickname was adopted by fans and media following a football game between Illinois and Michigan during World War I; after being tied 0-0 late into fourth quarter, one fan yelled “Kill ’em! Kill ’em!” referring to both teams’ respective mascots—the Wolverines for Michigan & Chief Illiniwek for Illinois). This moniker stuck until February 28th 2007 when then-University President B Joseph White announced that all references to Native American imagery would be removed from University property due to its perceived offensive nature against indigenous peoples. Following this announcement, students voted through referendum that “Fighting Illini” remain as their official team name while universities logo featuring Chief Illinweks headdress will no longer appear alongside it on uniforms or other related merchandise

Illinois has won multiple national championships across several different sports including Football (1914), Men’s Fencing(1941), Men`s Gymnastics(1989) Women`s Basketball (2005). In addition they have had numerous athletes become professional players within various leagues such NFL , NBA , NHL etc.. Notable alumni include Dick Butkus who played linebacker for Chicago Bears from 1965 – 1973 ; Lou Henson who coached basketball at UIUC from 1975 – 1996 ; Deron Williams currently guard / forward New Jersey Nets since 2008 .

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