SIUE First Basketball TeamIn 1967 SIUE forms its first basketball team, which competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Great Midwest Conference Men’s Basketball TournamentIn 1992 The Cougars win their first Great Midwest Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament championship, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they lose to Missouri in the first round.
Jon Harris Head Baseball CoachIn 2012 SIUE hires Jon Harris as head baseball coach. Harris had previously played in Major League Baseball and would go on to coach the Cougars for six seasons.
Third OVC Men’s Soccer Tournament WinIn 2018 The Cougars win their third OVC Men’s Soccer Tournament championship, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they lose to Notre Dame in the second round.
History of the Cougars
The SIU Edwardsville Cougars have a long and storied history as one of the NCAA's premier athletic programs. From its humble beginnings in 1957, the program has become an integral part of college sports in Illinois and beyond. The Cougars boast an impressive list of accomplishments on and off, from conference championships to national rankings.
SIUE was a Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) member in its early days. During this period, they won three GLVC titles between 1974-1976 under legendary coach Jack Margaritis who is now enshrined in the school’s Hall Of Fame. In 1978, they moved up to Division I when they became members of the NCAA's Missouri Valley Conference. They competed until 1993, when it joined other schools, including Bradley University and Creighton University, forming what is now known as The Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC).
During this period, SIUE had some notable successes, including winning MVFC titles twice during the 1992-1993 season under head coach Bob Denton who also earned Coach Of The Year honors for his efforts that year. They also participated at various levels within the postseason play, such as making appearances at NIT tournaments or even making deep runs into the March Madness competition with wins over teams like Purdue & Northwestern!
While success on the court has been plentiful throughout the years, few moments stand out more than others, most notably back in 2006 when Men’s Basketball Team advanced the way Sweet Sixteen before being eliminated by the eventual National Champion Florida Gators team led by Joakim Noah & Al Horford! This feat remains arguably the most significant accomplishment any Southern Illinois university has ever achieved basketball realm despite several close calls since then, most recently the 2018 edition squad, which came just short of advancing to round two after losing a hard-fought battle against the West Virginia Mountaineers, last minute buzzer beater shot attempt fell short giving them heartbreaking loss end historic run!
Today we look fondly upon past achievements while looking forward to a bright future ahead of us here at Southern Illinois Edwardsville campus, home proudest athletics tradition statewide, regionally nationally alike - Go Cougs!!
College Sports Established
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
2008 - Present / NCAA Division I
2008 - Present / Ohio Valley Conference
Cougars - The SIU Edwardsville Cougars are a powerhouse in the NCAA, and their nickname is steeped in history. The Cougars' nickname originated in 1950 when Southern Illinois University (SIU) was established as an independent institution. At that time, a contest was held among students to decide on a mascot for the school's athletic teams. After much deliberation, "Cougars" emerged as the winning selection and has been used ever since!
So what inspired this choice? According to legend, one student suggested “Cougars” because he had seen wild cougar tracks near campus during his freshman year at SIU. This story may or may not be accurate; however, it does fit with other accounts of how cougars were considered symbols of strength and courage by Native American tribes living nearby at that period – qualities that would undoubtedly be desirable traits for any sports team!
Regardless of its origins, though, there's no denying that "Cougars" has become synonymous with success over the years: from their, Division II National Championship win in 1972 all way through today, where they compete against some top-notch programs across multiple divisions within NCAA athletics. So if you're looking for an example of tenacity on display each game day, look no further than your own SIUE Cougars!
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