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The UIC Flames are the intercollegiate athletic teams of the University of Illinois at Chicago. They are called the Flames as a reference to the Great Chicago Fire, and their team colors are navy blue and fire engine red. The Flames participate in NCAA Division I athletics as part of the Horizon League in baseball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball. The Flames also compete in gymnastics in the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League. Garrett Klassy is the current athletic director after Jim Schmidt retired on 1 August 2017 after 25 years.[2]

UIC Flames
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
ConferenceHorizon League
Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorGarrett Klassy
LocationChicago, Illinois
Varsity teams20 (9 men’s and 11 women’s)
Basketball arenaUIC Pavilion
Baseball stadiumLes Miller Field
Soccer stadiumFlames Field Softballstadium = Flames Field
Other arenasCog Hill Golf and Country Club
Flames Athletic Center
Flames Natatorium
Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts
MascotSparky D. Dragon
Fight song"Fire Up Flames"
ColorsNavy Blue and Fire Engine Red[1]

UIC Flames wordmark.svg



UIC athletics began with the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) in the 1880s with their basketball and football teams whose team colors were red (blood) and iodoform (iodine). P&S eventually affiliated with and then became absorbed into the University of Illinois forming its College of Medicine.

In 1946, the Chicago Illini represented the two-year University of Illinois undergraduate division located on Navy Pier. In 1965 the Chicago Illini moved to Harrison and Halsted to represent the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle campus. Upon this move the team became known as the Chicas, a shortening of Chicago; this was changed "Chikas" due to taunting from other teams knocking them ("chicas" means "girls" in Spanish). This spelling was rationalized as being a reference to the Chickasaw tribe. It was dropped in the seventies.

When the university joined the NCAA Division I in 1981, it had no nickname for its athletic teams and just used the phrase "Chicago Circle".[3] The following year, the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle merged with the University of Illinois Medical Center and became known as the University of Illinois at Chicago, dropping "Circle" from its name.[4] The consolidated university adopted Flames as its athletic nickname by student votes at the two predecessor schools.[5]

Sports sponsoredEdit

A member of the Horizon League, the University of Illinois at Chicago sponsors teams in nine men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[6]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach
Baseball Mike Dee Basketball Flames women's basketball Regina Miller
Basketball Flames men's basketball Steve McClain Cross Country Jim Knoedel
Cross Country Jim Knoedel Golf Carol Rhoades
Gymnastics [v 1] Charley Nelson Gymnastics [v 2] Peter and Mary Jansson (co-head coaches)
Soccer Sean Phillips Soccer Brian Rigby
Swimming & Diving Tim Loeffler Softball Lynn Curylo
Tennis Hans Neufeld Swimming & Diving Tim Loeffler
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Jim Knoedel Tennis Shannon Tully
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Jim Knoedel
Volleyball Katie Schumacher-Cawley
  1. ^ Men's gymnastics competes as a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League.
  2. ^ Women's gymnastics competes as a member of the Midwest Independent Conference.


UIC Pavilion, home of the UIC Flames

The UIC Pavilion currently serves as the home of the Flames' basketball teams. The men's basketball team competed in the NCAA tournament in 1998, 2002, and 2004, and appeared in the NIT in 2003, but have not advanced past the first round in either tournament. The team was led by Jimmy Collins from 1996 until his retirement in 2010. Howard Moore, a former assistant coach at Wisconsin, was signed as the new men's head coach in 2010. In his first season, the Flames upset #12/14 Illinois at the United Center. Moore was let go after five seasons in which the Flames went 49–111 overall.[7] He was replaced by Indiana assistant and former Wyoming head coach Steve McClain.[8]


UIC's men's soccer team was ranked as high as #6 in the NCAA national polls in 2006 and made it to the second round of the 2006 National tournament, where they lost to Notre Dame. The following year, the Flames reached the "Elite Eight" in the NCAA soccer playoffs. As of 2011, they have been ranked #142 in the NCAA national rankings, out of 204 teams.[9]

Jay DeMerit played for UIC's men's soccer team and currently plays for and captains the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer, and was a former captain of Watford whom he played for in the Premier League and the Championship. Jay also is a former member of the US national team, whom he represented in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Another Flame, Pat McMahon received an offer to play in Scotland in 2009.[10] Baggio Husidić is a former MLS player who played with the Chicago Fire, he currently plays for Los Angeles Galaxy.

Other sportsEdit

Current Milwaukee Brewers player Curtis Granderson played baseball for the UIC Flames.[11]

UIC's softball team has appeared in one Women's College World Series in 1994.[12]

UIC had a men's ice hockey team before the program was discontinued in the spring of 1996.

The men's swim team won the Horizon League Championships in 2009. Swimming & Diving 2007 alumni Blake Booher qualified for the 2008 Olympic Swimming Trials in the 50 Freestyle. 2011 alumni Steve Yemm qualified for the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials in the 100 & 200 Butterfly.

UIC FuryEdit

The Fury is the official student booster club of the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Athletics. The Fury registers over 1,000 new members each year, and to this date is the largest student organization on campus.[13]


  1. ^ UIC Branding Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Garrett Klassy – Director of Athletics". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ Wolff, Alexander (1981-12-14). "Ray points the way". Sports Illustrated. pp. 56–57. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  4. ^ Unger, Rudolph (1982-08-31). "U. of I. ties 2 campuses Wednesday". Chicago Tribune. p. A9.
  5. ^ "Flames". Chicago Tribune. 1982-06-23. p. D5.
  6. ^ "The Official Website of UIC Flames Athletics". University of Illinois at Chicago Athletics. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  7. ^ "UIC basketball coach Howard Moore fired". CSN Chicago.
  8. ^ "Illinois-Chicago to hire Indiana assistant Steve McClain as head coach".
  9. ^ "NCAA National Rankings". NCAA.
  10. ^ "UICFLAMES.COM Cesar Zambrano Begins Professional Career With Colorado Rapids - University Illinois Chicago Official Athletic Site".
  11. ^ McCarron, Anthony (December 12, 2009). "New York Yankees have quite a catch in Curtis Granderson, who's a leader on and off field". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  12. ^ 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. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  13. ^ The UIC Fury: The Who and What. Retrieved on November 16, 2007.

External linksEdit