Doug Collins is one of Illinois State University’s most famous basketball players. Collins played for the Redbirds from 1969-1973, where he established himself as one of the greatest players in school history. During his four years at Illinois State, Collins set multiple school records and earned numerous accolades. As a freshman in 1969-70, Collins led the Redbirds in scoring with ...
In 1976, the Illinois State University men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. The team, led by head coach Will Robinson, had a record of 20-7 heading into the tournament. In the first round of the tournament, the Redbirds faced the Murray State Racers. Illinois State won the game by a ...
In 2014, the Illinois State University football team won the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) championship for the first time since joining the conference in 1985. The Redbirds, led by head coach Brock Spack, had a record of 10-1 heading into the championship game against the Northern Iowa Panthers. In the championship game, played on December 6, 2014, the Redbirds ...
In 2017, the Illinois State University men’s basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Redbirds, led by head coach Dan Muller, had a record of 27-6 heading into the tournament. In the MVC tournament, held from March 2-5, 2017, the Redbirds won three straight games ...
History of the Redbirds
The Illinois State Redbirds have been a force to be reckoned with in collegiate sports since their inception in 1857. They are one of the original NCAA Division I teams and boast an impressive history of success both on and off the field. Over the years, they have won numerous conference championships, including 15 Missouri Valley Conference titles and three Big Ten Conference Championships. Additionally, they've made four appearances in bowl games and five trips to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 round.
Off-the-field accolades include producing some of college sports' most legendary athletes, such as Hall Of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, who became an NFL MVP for two consecutive seasons (1999 & 2000). Other notable alumni include NBA All-Star Doug Collins, who was drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers back in 1973; seven-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps; former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Prior; current Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II; plus many more!
Illinois State has also earned its fair share of academic honors over its storied history with multiple Rhodes Scholarships awarded each year since 1965, along with dozens more National Merit Scholarships being presented annually throughout that same period too! The university is consistently ranked among America's top universities for student satisfaction due to its commitment to providing quality education while still allowing students plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities like athletics or other clubs/organizations available at ISU campus locations across the central IL region (Normal/Bloomington).
No matter what your sport preference may be - football, basketball, or any other athletic endeavor - you can rest assured knowing that when it comes down to supporting our beloved Redbird Nation, we'll always put forth our best effort, whether it's cheering them from home during game days or attending live events whenever possible! So go ahead and show your colors proudly today & join us all in celebrating this great institution’s past successes while looking forward even brighter future ahead here at ISU Athletics Department!!
College Sports Established
Illinois State University
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1921 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1981 - Present / Missouri Valley Conference
1971 - 1980 / Independent
1909 - 1970 / Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Redbirds - Sports fans, have you ever wondered about the origins of the Illinois State Redbirds nickname? The NCAA Division I school in Normal, IL, is home to one of the most beloved teams in college sports.
The origin story behind this iconic nickname dates back to 1915 when students created an unofficial mascot for their university. Initially calling themselves “the Cardinals” after the state bird, they eventually settled on “Redbirds” as a unique moniker to better represent their school spirit and pride.
Over time, Redbird fever spread across campus and beyond, with alumni proudly wearing apparel emblazoned with this beloved symbol wherever they went. Soon enough, it became synonymous with Illinois State athletics – so much so that by 1925 it was officially adopted as part of official team branding!
Today you can find references to our feathered friends everywhere, from game day t-shirts to stadium banners; genuinely embodying what it means to be an ISU fan through thick and thin! Whether we win or lose, there will always be something special about cheering on our Redbirds - no matter where life takes us next!
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To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.