Northern Iowa Panthers
UniversityUniversity of Northern Iowa
ConferenceMissouri Valley (primary)
Missouri Valley Football Conference
Big 12 (wrestling)
NCAADivision I (FCS)
Athletic directorDavid Harris[1]
LocationCedar Falls, Iowa
Varsity teams15
Football stadiumUNI-Dome
Basketball arenaMcLeod Center
MascotTC/TK Panther
Fight song"UNI Fight"
ColorsPurple and old gold[2]

The Northern Iowa Panthers are the athletic teams of the University of Northern Iowa. The university is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference and competes in NCAA Division I (Division I FCS in football).

UNI's Offense getting to work against the St. Francis Red Flash September 19, 2009


The school's mascot is the Panther. They participate in the Missouri Valley Conference for all sports except football and wrestling, in which they are a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly the Gateway Football Conference) and the Big Twelve Conference. Northern Iowa previously competed in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (now known as the American Rivers Conference), North Central Conference, and the Mid-Continent Conference (now known as the Summit League).

History of UNI nickname

On September 8, 1931, the following appeal appeared in the student newspaper, the College Eye, under the headline "Contest Started for School Name":[3]

"Who wants to be called Tutors, Pedagogues, and Teachers all the time? Every leading school in the country has some name by which they are known in the realm of sport. Iowa is known as the Hawkeyes, Minnesota as Gophers, Chicago as Maroons, and so forth. Why not give Iowa State Teachers College a name which signifies something characteristic about the school besides the fact that it is a teachers college?"[3]

The article goes on to note that entries would be judged by a member of the Department of Physical Education, other faculty, and students.[3]

When the contest was announced, the Iowa State Teachers College had already been participating in intercollegiate athletics on a regular and organized basis for over thirty-five years. Teachers College teams had participated in contests with other Iowa colleges, and occasionally with teams from outside the state, in baseball, football, basketball, and track and field. Until the end of World War I, students certainly did get excited about these contests, but they probably took just as much pleasure in the success of the school's debate and oratorical teams. The school's sole mission, the preparation of teachers, tended to attract many more women than men to the Teachers College. And, consequently, the school did not have an abundance of material from which to draw its athletes in the days when only men participated in intercollegiate athletics. Following the war, however, the college made a distinct effort to attract men to the teaching profession. An important part of this effort was the addition of physical education courses to the curriculum that would help to prepare men for teaching positions that included athletics coaching responsibilities. Improved athletics facilities, including the construction of the West Gymnasium, showed that the school was taking a more serious attitude toward intercollegiate athletics.[3]

On September 18, 1931, the College Eye announced that Paul Bender, acting head of the Department of Physical Education for Men; George Holmes, professor of journalism; Robert Burley, president of the Student Council; and the sports editor of the College Eye would judge entries. The winner would receive a leather briefcase from the Berg Drug Company. Second place would be a dresser alarm clock from Chase Jewelry Store. Third place would be a season football pass.[3]

The winning name "Purple Panthers" was submitted by Burl Berry, a center on the football team.[4]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Basketball Basketball
Cross country Cross country
Football Golf
Golf Soccer
Track and field Softball
Wrestling Swimming and diving
Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor


In the 1977 AIAW Women's College World Series, the Panther softball team defeated Arizona, 7–0, in the deciding final game, led by pitcher Pat Stockman to earn the university's first team national championship.[5] The softball team has appeared in four Women's College World Series, in 1973, 1975, 1976 and 1977.[5] In 1982, then competing at the Division II level, the softball team won a second AIAW national title.


The University of Northern Iowa Wrestling team, founded in 1923, won the NCAA (Single division) national championship in 1950 and the NCAA Division II national championships in 1975 and 1978. They competed in the Western Wrestling Conference until 2012, when UNI became an associate member of the Mid-American Conference since the MVC is a non-wrestling conference. The Panthers continued to compete in the MAC through the 2016–17 season, after which they moved to the Big 12.

Doug Schwab is the current head coach for the Northern Iowa Wrestling Team. Mission Statement - To communicate with UNI wrestling fans to support, encourage, promote a successful UNI wrestling tradition.[6]

In the 2013–2014 season, head coach Doug Schwab led the Panthers to a perfect 13–0 season in dual meets,[7] the only division one wrestling team to go undefeated.

Northern Iowa Panther Wrestling Accomplishments:[8][9][10]

Notable wrestlers:[14][15][16]


Main article: Northern Iowa Panthers football

Men's basketball

Main article: Northern Iowa Panthers men's basketball

NCAA Tournament history

Season Seed Eliminated
Teams Defeated Lost to
1962 (College Division) N/A 2nd Round Hamline Nebraska Wesleyan
1964 (College Division) N/A 4th Place Washington (MO)
Mankato State
Southeast Missouri
North Carolina A&T
1979 (Division II) N/A 2nd Round Nebraska-Omaha Wisconsin–Green Bay
1990 (14) 2nd Round (3) Missouri (6) Minnesota
2004 (14) 1st Round (3) Georgia Tech
2005 (11) 1st Round (6) Wisconsin
2006 (10) 1st Round (7) Georgetown
2009 (12) 1st Round (5) Purdue
2010 (9) 3rd Round(Sweet 16) (8) UNLV
(1) Kansas
(5) Michigan State
2015 (5) 3rd Round (12) Wyoming (4) Louisville
2016 (11) 3rd Round (6) Texas (3) Texas A&M

Other tournaments

Women's basketball

Jacqui Kalin helped lead the women's basketball team to consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, as the team won back-to-back MVC Tournament titles.[20] In her freshman year in 2007–08, she led the MVC with an .899 free throw percentage (a school record), and was named MVC Freshman of the Year.[21][22][23][24] In 2010–11 she was named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.[24][23] In 2012–13 she led the league in scoring (19.5 ppg; a school record), had the fourth-highest season free throw percentage in NCAA Division 1 history-and the highest of any senior (95.5%), and was again named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.[21][24][25][26] For her career Kalin was first all-time at UNI in scoring (2,081), 3-point field goals made (265), free throws made (484), and free throw percentage (.920; the NCAA Division 1 career record.[21][27][24][25]

Coach Record When coached No. of years
Tanya Warren 267–194 2007–present Current
Tony DiCecco 183–161 1995–2007 12 years
Wanda Green 78–59 1968–1978 10 years
J.D. Anderson 59–55 1980–1984 4 years
Kim Mayden 36–96 1984–1989 5 years
Terri Lasswel 35–125 1989–1995 6 years
Sandra Williamson 7–40 1978–1980 2 years

NCAA Tournament history

Season Seed Eliminated
Teams defeated Lost to
2010 (16) 1st Round (1) Nebraska
2011 (13) 1st Round (4) Michigan State
2017 (10) 1st Round (7) DePaul

WNIT history

Season Seed Eliminated
Teams defeated Lost to
2001 N/A 1st Round DePaul
2003 N/A 1st Round Baylor
2006 N/A 1st Round Kansas State
2013 N/A 2nd Round Marquette Ball State
2015 N/A 1st Round Missouri
2016 N/A 3rd Round Nebraska


South Dakota


UNI's men's baseball program was discontinued after the 2008–2009 season.

In 1961, the Panthers led by future Baltimore RP Eddie Watt[28] qualified for the NCAA Division 1 Baseball Tournament losing in the District 5 Final to eventual CWS Runner-Up Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Panthers also qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 1958 and 2001. [29]

Other MLB players who attended UNI include Duane Josephson, the first Panther named All-American and who led the nation in HR's.[30]


  1. ^ "University of Northern Iowa".
  2. ^ University of Northern Iowa Athletics Style Guide (PDF). January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e "History".
  4. ^ "University of Northern Iowa (UNI) uses new nickname "Purple Panthers" in 1931". The des Moines Register. 27 September 1931. p. 16.
  5. ^ a b Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. pp. 36–41. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  6. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Athletics - 2016-17 Wrestling Coaching Staff".
  7. ^ "Wrestling Stays Perfect With 21-19 Win Over ODU". Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  8. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1931-1952". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  9. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1953-1964". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  10. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1965-1982". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  11. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1950 Championship Team". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  12. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1975 Championship Team". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  13. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling 1978 Championship Team". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  14. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling NCAA Division I Champions". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  15. ^ "University of Northern Iowa Wrestling NCAA Division II Champions". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  16. ^ "The 1948 London Olympics: Wrestling Team Experience". Stillwater, Oklahoma: National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  17. ^ "Six-Time All-Americans (Div. I and Div. II)". University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  18. ^ Katz, Andy (2009-07-10). "U.S. to play Israel for bronze". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  19. ^ "Panthers to Represent USA at World University Games". Cedar Falls, Iowa: University of Northern Iowa. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Drake University Athletics - Jacqui Kalin - Staff Directory".
  22. ^ 2008-09 University of Northern Iowa Women's Basketball Media Guide Guide, University of Northern Iowa.
  23. ^ a b "UNI's Kalin named to Jewish Sports Review's All-America team". Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. May 17, 2011.
  24. ^ a b c d "Jacqui Kalin - 2012-13 - Women's Basketball". UNI Athletics.
  25. ^ a b 2015-16 UNI Women's Basketball Media Guide. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  26. ^ "Thea Lemberger Named JSR All-America". UCLA. May 16, 2013.
  27. ^ Barry Poe (March 9, 2020). "Kalin excited about next chapter". Sioux City Journal.
  28. ^ wobs (19 April 2013). "1974 Topps - Pennant Fever".
  30. ^ "Duane Josephson - SABR".