This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The FIU Panthers are the athletic teams representing Florida International University, an American public university located in Miami. The Panthers currently compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletics as members of Conference USA.
|University||Florida International University|
|Athletic director||Pete Garcia|
|Football stadium||Riccardo Silva Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Ocean Bank Convocation Center|
|Baseball stadium||FIU Baseball Stadium|
|Mascot||Roary the Panther|
|Fight song||FIU Fight Song|
|Colors||Blue and Gold|
History and introductionEdit
|NCAA Division II||1965–1988||Independent|
|NCAA Division I||1988–1991|
|1991–1998||Trans America Athletic Conference|
(now Atlantic Sun Conference)
|1998–2013||Sun Belt Conference|
|2013–||Conference USA (East)|
FIU's colors are navy blue and gold, and their mascot is the Panther (taken from the Florida panther, an endangered species endemic to the nearby Everglades), which is embodied by a panther named Roary the Panther. The school's original nickname was the "Sunblazers", but it was changed in 1987 to the "Golden Panthers", with the word "Golden" officially dropped beginning with the 2010–11 school year.
FIU is a member of the NCAA, participating in Division I, and is a member of Conference USA. FIU joined the Sun Belt Conference in 1998 having previously competed in the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC; now the Atlantic Sun Conference), from 1991 to 1998. They joined Conference USA in 2013.
The FIU Athletic Department has produced scores of professional and Olympic athletes, including current players in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and in the Women's National Basketball Association.
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Track and field†||Softball|
|Swimming and diving|
|Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
FIU's baseball team began play in 1973 as a Division II member and is one of the most successful programs in the school's history. The team has reached the post-season 14 times in school history, including nine times as a Division I program. The other five appearances came as a Division II program and included a Division II College World Series appearance.
Many players from past years have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams and have played in the majors. FIU's most notable baseball alumni is Mike Lowell, former third baseman of the New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, and Boston Red Sox. Lowell was the 2007 World Series MVP. Garrett Wittels finished the 2010 season with a 56-game hitting streak, two hits shy of the Division I record, set the FIU season record for hits, was nominated for the Best Male College Athlete ESPY Award for his 2010 performance, won Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honors, and was named a NCBWA and Louisville Slugger/TPX Preseason All-American.
- Team honors
- NCAA Division I Super Regional Appearances (1): 2001
- NCAA Division I Regional Appearances (11): 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2011, 2015
- NCAA Division II College World Series (1): 1980
- NCAA Division II Regional Appearances (5): 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982
- Conference USA Tournament Champions (1): 2015
- Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions (2): 1999, 2010
- Trans America Athletic Conference Tournament Champions (2): 1991, 1998
The current head coach of the FIU men's basketball team is Anthony Evans, who was hired on April 15, 2013.
FIU men's basketball team had its lone NCAA Tournament appearance in the 1995 tournament under then Head Coach Bob Weltlich. FIU won the TAAC Basketball Tournament and in doing so earned an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. FIU was seeded #16 and played the #1 seeded UCLA Bruins in the first round of the West Regional, which was played at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. The Panthers lost the game to the Bruins by the score of 92–56, being the first tournament win in UCLA's successful run to the National Championship that year.
- Team honors
- NCAA Tournament Appearances (1): 1995
- Trans America Athletic Conference Tournament Champions (1): 1995
- Trans America Athletic Conference Regular Season Champions (1): 1992–93
The women's basketball team plays their home games on-campus at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.
- Team honors
- NCAA Division I Tournament Appearances (6): 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002
- WNIT Appearances (7): 1992, 1993, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013
- NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances (3): 1983, 1986, 1987
- Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions (1): 2002
- Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Champions (1): 2001–02
- Trans America Athletic Conference Tournament Champions (6): 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998
- Trans America Athletic Conference Regular Season Champions (7): 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98
- New South Women's Athletic Conference Regular Season Champions (2): 1988–89, 1989–90
- Men's team honors
- Trans America Athletic Conference Champions (4): 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
- Women's team honors
- Trans America Athletic Conference Champions (5): 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997
- New South Women's Athletic Conference Champions (2): 1988, 1990
The FIU Panthers football team competes in the NCAA FBS Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A), the highest level in intercollegiate football, and is a member of the Sun Belt Conference. They are led by head coach Butch Davis and play at Riccardo Silva Stadium on FIU's University Park campus. The team began playing in 2002 as a member of NCAA Division 1-AA, now known as the NCAA FCS Football Championship Subdivision. Three years later, the FIU Athletics Department decided to move the program up to Division 1-A. FIU became the fastest school to make such a move from a program's inception.
On August 29, 2002, the program played its first game at home against Saint Peter's College in front of a sold out crowd of 17,314. FIU defeated St. Peters's by the score of 27–3.
The FIU football team's main rival are the Florida Atlantic Owls and the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. Both FIU and Florida Atlantic play annually in a game known as the Shula Bowl. The game is named after former Miami Dolphins head coach and Football Hall of Fame inductee Don Shula.
- Team honors
- Sun Belt Conference Champions (1): 2010
FIU has won two NCAA Division II national championships in men's soccer. In 1982, FIU beat Southern Connecticut State by the score of 2–1, to win the school's first national title in any sport. Two years later the Panthers won their second national title beating Seattle Pacific University 1–0. To date these are the only national titles the university has achieved in athletic competition.
The men's soccer team competes in Conference USA. The team previously played in the Atlantic Soccer Conference from 2000 to 2004 and the Trans America Athletic Conference (now known as the Atlantic Sun Conference) from 1991 to 1999.
FIU has regularly qualified for the NCAA Tournament in men's soccer, both as Division I and Division II program. In addition to the national championships achieved by the team as a Division II program, the team reached the Division I championship game in 1996, losing to St. John's University 4–1.
Recently, two new soccer fields were finished in the summer of 2007 on the northwest side of campus. These fields will complement the other two, making four soccer fields for use by both the men and women's soccer teams, as well as practice fields for the football team.
- Team honors
- Division I National Runner-Up (1): 1996
- NCAA Division I Tournament Appearances (8): 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2015
- Division II National Champions (2): 1982, 1984
- Division II National Runner-Up (2): 1980, 1985
- NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances (8): 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
- Conference – USA Champions (1): 2015
- Atlantic Soccer Conference Champions (4): 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004
- Trans America Athletic Conference Champions (1): 1991
- Team honors
- NCAA Tournament Appearances (2): 1993, 2011
- Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions (2): 2000, 2011
Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Champions (2): 2000, 2009
FIU's softball team competes in Conference USA after previously being a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in 1998, Independent from 1999 to 2000, and of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001 through 2012. The team plays its home games at Felsberg Field at FIU Softball Stadium.
- Team honors
Swimming and divingEdit
- Team honors
- Conference – USA Conference Champions(3): 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Track & FieldEdit
- Individual honors
- FIU has had four Olympians, including three-time Olympic hurdler Ronald Forbes (Cayman Islands), Aubrey Smith (Jamaica), 2004 Gold Medalist Tayna Lawrence (Jamaica) and Ena Guervara-Mora (Chile).
FIU's indoor and sand volleyball teams are both under the helm of Rita Buck-Crockett. The indoor volleyball was established in 1974, while in 2013 the sand volleyball team is the newest sport for the athletic program. The indoor squad plays their matches at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center and the sand squad plays primarily on sand courts on FIU's main campus.
- Volleyball team honors
- NCAA Tournament Appearances (3): 2001, 2008, 2009
- Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions(1): 2001
- Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Champions (3): 2006, 2008, 2009
- New South Women's Athletic Conference Tournament Champions (1): 1990
- Sand volleyball team honors
- AVCA National Championships Appearances (2): 2014, 2015
Notable non varsity sportsEdit
Founded in 1989, FIU Rugby competes in the South Independent Rugby Conference against in-state Florida rivals such as USF and UCF. FIU Rugby has improved since hiring Head Coach Ronny Suarez in late spring 2015, defeating two-time D1-AA national champions Central Florida in October 2015.
Riccardo Silva StadiumEdit
Riccardo Silva Stadium was originally opened in 1995 as a standard track and field athletics stadium, with mobile seats for the football end zones and an artificial turf infield. In 2007, the stadium was closed and converted into a dedicated football stadium, with the track removed, the original turf replaced with FieldTurf, and permanent stands providing 20,000 seats. It was re-opened in time for the 2008 college football season. Further improvements to FIU Stadium are ongoing, with a future capacity target of 45,000 seats.
During Riccardo Silva Stadium's reconstruction, the Panthers football team played at the Miami Orange Bowl in the 2007 season, and actually won the final college football game played at the stadium before it was demolished to make way for the new Marlins Park.
Ocean Bank Convocation CenterEdit
Ocean Bank Convocation Center (previously known as Sunblazer Arena, Golden Panther Arena, Pharmed Arena, U.S. Century Bank Arena, and FIU Arena), is a 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena that opened on February 1, 1986. The FIU Panthers' basketball and volleyball teams play there. It was originally named Sunblazer Arena but was renamed Golden Panther Arena when FIU's athletic teams changed their nickname from Sunblazers to Golden Panthers in 1987. It was eventually renamed on September 1, 2004 in honor of Pharmed Group after a $1 million USD donation was made to the FIU athletic department by Pharmed owners Jorge and Carlos de Cespedes. After Pharmed was liquidated in 2008 the arena name was briefly changed to FIU Arena. Later in 2008, the name was changed to U.S. Century Bank Arena when the local bank of that name acquired naming rights. The name reverted to the FIU Arena name in 2014, but was renamed the Ocean Bank Convocation Center in January 2018.
Other events such as MTV's Campus Invasion, the Miss Universe Contest, National Political Rallys, music concerts, ceremonies and fairs are also held year-round at the arena.
Infinity Insurance ParkEdit
Infinity Insurance Park is a baseball stadium located in the Modesto A. Maidique Campus of Florida International University in Miami, Florida. It is used as the home venue of the university's baseball team. The facility opened on January 26, 1996 with an FIU victory against Bethune–Cookman, 1–0. The baseball team played its 2000 season at the Homestead Sports Complex in Homestead, Florida while the facility underwent an expansion.
In 2005, the facility also hosted the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
The stadium was renamed Infinity Insurance Park in 2018.
- "Logo & Colors - Brand Florida International University". Retrieved March 12, 2017.
- "Regents Ok Fiu's Move To Division I – Sun Sentinel". Articles.sun-sentinel.com. 1987-01-30. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- Siobhan Morrissey (August 8, 2012). "Where have you gone, Garrett Wittels?; The shortstop's epic hitting streak once thrilled MLB, until his epic fall". ESPN. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- "Florida International's Garrett Wittels pulls within 2 of longest hit streak in FIU loss". ESPN. June 6, 2010.
- Karen Crouse (June 2, 2010). "Hitting Streak Lifts Shadows Over a Campus". The New York Times.
- Adam Beasley (February 16, 2011). "Garrett Wittels: FIU baseball player cleared to play despite rape charge". Sun Sentinel.
- Club History. Accessed October 14, 2015.
- "FIU Downs Rivals, Thinks Big", Goff Rugby Report, October 14, 2015.
- "Mike Martinez Bio – FIU Athletics". Fiusports.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.