Illinois State Redbirds football
2021 Illinois State Redbirds football team
First season1887
Head coachBrock Spack
10th season, 74–45 (.622)
StadiumHancock Stadium
(capacity: 13,391)
LocationNormal, Illinois
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceMissouri Valley
All-time record471–510–68 (.481)
Bowl record0–1 (.000)
Playoff appearances8
1998, 1999, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019
Conference titles10
1937, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1950, 1967, 1968, 1999, 2014, 2015
RivalriesEastern Illinois (rivalry)
ColorsRed and white[1]
   
Websitegoredbirds.com

The Illinois State Redbirds football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the Illinois State University located in the U.S. state of Illinois. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The school's first football team was fielded in 1887. The team plays its home games at the 13,391 seat Hancock Stadium. They are coached by Brock Spack.

History

Prior to 1923, the Illinois State football team was known as the Teachers or Fighting Teachers. When Clifford E. Horton began coaching the team in 1923, he proposed the Cardinals as the team's new nickname, after its red and white colors. The Pantagraph sports editor Fred Young changed the name to the Redbirds to distinguish the team from the nearby St. Louis Cardinals.[2]

Classifications

Conference memberships

Conference championships

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Illinois State has won 10 conference titles, four outright.

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1937† Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Howard Hancock 5–1–2 3–1–1
1940 5–3–1 3–0–1
1941† 3–4–1 3–0–1
1945 Edwin Struck 4–3 3–0
1950 Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 7–1–2 5–0–1
1967† Larry Bitcon 8–2 2–1
1968† 6–4 2–1
1999 Missouri Valley Football Conference Todd Berry 11–3 6–0
2014† Brock Spack 13–2 7–1
2015† 10–3 7–1

† Co-championship

Postseason appearances

Illinois State has made eight appearances in the Division I–AA/FCS playoffs, garnering a record of 10–8.

Year Round Opponent Result
1998 First Round Northwestern State L 28–48
1999 First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Colgate
Hofstra
Georgia Southern
W 56–13
W 37–20
L 17–31
2006 First Round
Quarterfinals
Eastern Illinois
Youngstown State
W 24–13
L 21–28
2012 Second Round
Quarterfinals
Appalachian State
Eastern Washington
W 38–37 OT
L 35–51
2014 Second Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Championship
Northern Iowa
Eastern Washington
New Hampshire
North Dakota State
W 41–21
W 59–46
W 21–18
L 27–29
2015 Second Round
Quarterfinals
Western Illinois
Richmond
W 36–19
L 27–39
2016 First Round Central Arkansas L 24–31
2019 First Round
Second Round
Quarterfinals
Southeast Missouri State
Central Arkansas
North Dakota State
W 24–6
W 24–14
L 3–9

Bowl games

Illinois State has one bowl appearance, going 0-1.[3]

Year Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1950 Edwin Struck Corn Bowl Missouri-Rolla L 6–7

Wins Over FBS Teams

Year Opponent Result
1987 Western Michigan W 20-6
1991 Akron W 25-3
2012 Eastern Michigan W 31-14
2016 Northwestern W 9-7
2018 Colorado State W 35-19

Head coaches

Years Name
1895 George B. Dygart
1896 Louis H. Galbreath
1897 B. C. Edwards
1903–1906 John P. Stewart
1907 John A. H. Keith
1908–1909 George Binnewies
1912–1922 Harrison Russell
1923–1924 Clifford E. Horton
1925–1926 Don Karnes
1927–1930 Joe Cogdal
1931–1944 Howard Hancock
1945–1964 Edwin Struck
1965–1971 Larry Bitcon
1972–1976 Gerry Hart
1977–1980 Charlie Cowdrey
1981–1987 Bob Otolski
1988–1995 Jim Heacock
1996–1999 Todd Berry
2000–2008 Denver Johnson
2009–present Brock Spack

[4]

Rivalries

Eastern Illinois

Main article: Mid-America Classic

The Mid-America Classic is the rivalry game between Illinois State and Eastern Illinois. The rivalry began in 1901 and is the oldest in the state of Illinois. With the 100th game in the series, representatives from both schools met and developed the Mid-America Classic renaming for the rivalry. The two schools also collaborated on a traveling trophy, which holds plaques with the results of the previous 100 games in the series and has room for results of future games in the series.[5] The two teams have played 108 times in total, with Illinois State holding a 57–42–9 advantage in the all-time series as of the end of the 2019 season.

Notable former players

Notable alumni include:

Redbirds drafted into the NFL

Draft Year Player Position Round Overall NFL Team
2018 Davontae Harris CB 5 151 Cincinnati Bengals
2015 James O'Shaughnessy TE 5 173 Kansas City Chiefs
2014 Shelby Harris DE 7 235 Oakland Raiders
2013 Nate Palmer LB 6 193 Green Bay Packers
2007 Laurent Robinson WR 3 75 Atlanta Falcons
2006 Brent Hawkins DE 5 160 Jacksonville Jaguars
2005 Boomer Grigsby LB 5 138 Kansas City Chiefs
1990 Bill Miller WR 10 258 Detroit Lions
1986 Jim Meyer T 7 167 Cleveland Browns
1985 Mike Prior DB 7 176 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1984 Clarence Collins WR 3 62 San Diego Chargers
1978 Estus Hood DB 3 62 Green Bay Packers
1976 Calvin Harper T 6 172 Kansas City Chiefs
1973 Ron Bell RB 6 140 Pittsburgh Steelers
1970 Guy Homoly DB 15 385 Cleveland Browns
1969 Dennis Nelson T 3 77 Baltimore Colts

References

  1. ^ Redbird Athletics Identity Manual (PDF). November 29, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Redbirds result of teamwork". The Pantagraph. September 16, 1971. p. C-10. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  3. ^ DeLassus, David. "Division I-AA All-Time Wins". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "2021 Redbird Football Media Guide" (PDF). Illinois State University Athletics Department. p. 59. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2012-09-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)