Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons
UniversityPurdue University Fort Wayne
ConferenceHorizon League
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorKelley Hartley Hutton
LocationFort Wayne, Indiana
Varsity teams16
Basketball arenaHilliard Gates Sports Center
Baseball stadiumMastodon Field
Soccer stadiumHefner Soccer Complex
MascotDon the Mastodon
Fight songGo 'Dons!
ColorsBlack and gold[1]

The Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons, formerly known as the IPFW Mastodons and Fort Wayne Mastodons, are the athletic teams of Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). The school's athletic program includes 16 varsity sports teams. Their mascot is a Mastodon named Don, and the school colors are black and gold. The university participates in the NCAA's Division I as members of the Horizon League in all varsity sports except for men's volleyball, which competes in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Purdue Fort Wayne offers 8 varsity sports for men and 8 for women.



At the start of athletics competition, the school was known as the abbreviation for Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). In 1968 a large bone was discovered during the installation of a farm pond near Angola, Indiana, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Fort Wayne. The farmer contacted professors in the IPFW geology department, who identified his discovery as the leg bone of a mastodon. Faculty and students from the geology department excavated the greater part of an adult mastodon, including the skull and tusks. The bones were cleaned, preserved, and placed on permanent display at IPFW. In 1970 members of the geology club, led by professors who oversaw the excavation, successfully lobbied the student government committee charged with choosing a name for the university mascot to select the mastodon. And thus, the IPFW Mastodons were born [9]. In addition to serving as a mascot, “Mastodon” is used as the athletic moniker for team members and school-spirited references to the student body. The selection of the mastodon as mascot—as well as a tongue-in-cheek borrowing of the term “Don” from its academic British English use—lends itself to be a suffix to refer to the athletics teams as well, such as Volleydons for the volleyball teams. In a related reference, the Mastodon STOMP pep band instills school spirit among the fans during home matches and games. By using the nickname "Mastodons", Purdue Fort Wayne is one of the few schools to use an extinct organism as a nickname, along with the Amherst Mammoths and the Maranatha Baptist Sabercats.[citation needed]

When the school first fielding athletics, they competed as an NCAA Division III Independent. In the summer of 1981, the Mastodons made a jump to NCAA Division II where they remained independent. Prior to the 1984–85 school year, the Mastodons joined the Great Lakes Valley Conference, their first ever conference affiliation. At the start of the 2001–02 academic year, the Mastodons joined NCAA Division I as an independent. IPFW joined their first Division I conference in July, 2007, joining The Summit League.[2]

Summit League logo in Purdue Fort Wayne's colors
Summit League logo in Purdue Fort Wayne's colors

Fort Wayne

On August 8, 2016, shortly before the start of the 2016–17 school year, IPFW athletic director Kelley Hartley Hutton announced that effective immediately, "Fort Wayne" would be the university's exclusive athletic brand. The school's "IPFW" academic branding was not affected. The Summit League has called the athletic program "Fort Wayne" since 2012, in line with a conference initiative to use geographic names to describe metropolitan campuses such as IPFW. When the school announced the athletic brand change, it noted,[3]

Some Mastodon teams have already been using Fort Wayne on uniforms since this recommendation, but the use has been limited and resulted in some confusion. Outside of northeast Indiana, there is also considerable confusion about the "IPFW" acronym, with misnomers being common—even among those involved in Division I athletics.

Purdue Fort Wayne

Indiana University and Purdue University in Fort Wayne officially separated on July 1, 2018, with IU taking responsibility for IPFW's degree programs in health sciences and Purdue retaining all other academic programs. Thereafter, the Mastodons will represent Purdue University Fort Wayne.[4] With the name change, the school's colors will change from Royal Blue and White to the Old Gold and Black used by the other three Purdue University campuses.[5] On June 18, 2018, the school announced that beginning July 1, 2018 all NCAA sports teams will be known as the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastadons.[6] In addition, a new logo was revealed where the color blue has been incorporated as a secondary color to the university's official school colors of gold and black.[6]

Because NCAA rules bar players from two different schools from competing on the same team, future IU Fort Wayne students will not be eligible for Mastodons athletics. At the time the separation was announced, five of the roughly 240 Fort Wayne varsity athletes were in academic majors that would become part of the new IU Fort Wayne campus, with three possibly requiring NCAA waivers to remain athletically eligible.[7]

It joined the Horizon League from the Summit League in July 2020. The official announcement of this move noted that PFW would be near the geographic center of its new league, with an average distance of 170 miles (270 km) from the other members.[8] At that time, media also noted that PFW's longest road trip in the Horizon League (344 miles to Green Bay) would be shorter than its shortest Summit League trip (367 miles to Western Illinois).[9][a]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Golf
Golf Soccer
Soccer Softball
Track and field Track and field
Volleyball Volleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor

Purdue Fort Wayne has 16 NCAA Division I-A varsity teams: 8 varsity sports for men and 8 for women.[10] The men's volleyball team is a member of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.[11] The newest Mastodons sports are men's indoor and outdoor track & field, reinstated in 2019–20 after having been dropped by IPFW in 2005.[12]


Main article: Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons baseball

Men's basketball

Main article: Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons men's basketball

Before joining NCAA Division I athletics, Fort Wayne competed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in some sports in the NCAA Division II, where in 1993, the men's basketball team led, by brothers Sean and Shane Gibson, achieved the ranking of No. 4 in the country in NCAA Division II competition. Dane Fife was named the IPFW men's basketball head coach during summer 2005. Fife, who left after the 2010–11 season, was the youngest NCAA Division I head coach at the time of his appointment, at the age of 26. Tony Jasick replaced Fife as the head coach. Jon Coffman is the current head coach of the program, announced on April 10, 2014.[13]

Women's basketball

Main article: Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons women's basketball


Purdue Fort Wayne has no football team. During its existence as IPFW, it hosted the 2000 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship matches at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, which is adjacent to the campus. Most athletic events are held in the Hilliard Gates Sports Center or the Athletics Center Fieldhouse on the PFW campus.

Club sports

Men's ice hockey

The IPFW Club Men's Ice Hockey Team is in its sixth season as a program and competes in the ACHA's North Region. IPFW has had recent success finishing in the top 20 in the nation the last three seasons. This past season the Mastodons won the Big Ten Club Tournament championship hosted by Northwestern University. This was a huge win for the program with bigger schools such as Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Northern Illinois and No. 3 ranked University of Michigan-Flint also in the tournament. The Dons play their home games at Lutheran Health SportCenter and have for the past 2 seasons. IPFW used to play their games at the old McMillan Ice Arena.


  1. ^ PFW's Horizon League announcement took place several months before Robert Morris University, located in suburban Pittsburgh, announced it would also join the Horizon League in 2020. The addition of Robert Morris increased PFW's average conference road trip to about 210 miles, but Green Bay remains PFW's longest Horizon League road trip.


  1. ^ Purdue University Fort Wayne Brand Quick Guide (PDF). June 7, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  2. ^ Hope Nsiah-Kumi (May 15, 2007). "Mid-Continent Conference Presidents Council Launches Summit Plan" (PDF). www.admin.xosn.com. Mid-Continent Conference. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  3. ^ "Introducing the Fort Wayne Mastodons" (Press release). Fort Wayne Athletics. August 8, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Goodbye IPFW, hello Purdue Fort Wayne". Journal & Courier, a division of Gannett Company, Inc. April 21, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions/Additional Questions". Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne. Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Purdue Fort Wayne Branding Released". Fort Wayne. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Shawgo, Ron (June 17, 2017). "No Div. I for IU athletes in Fort Wayne". The Journal Gazette. Fort Wayne, IN. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "Purdue University Fort Wayne to Join Horizon League" (Press release). Horizon League. August 5, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Gaskins, John (August 5, 2019). "Fort Wayne leaving Summit League". Sioux Falls, SD: KWSN. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Official Site of the Fort Wayne Mastdons/Sports". Fort Wayne Mastdons. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "MIVA/Teams". Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Men's Indoor and Outdoor Track Returns to Purdue Fort Wayne" (Press release). Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons. October 25, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  13. ^ "IPFW Mastodons Athletics – Jon Coffman Named IPFW Men's Basketball Head Coach". Gomastodons.com. October 4, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2015.