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FIU Panthers

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Subject: Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, Florida International University, NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
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FIU Panthers

FIU Panthers
University Florida International University
Conference Conference USA
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Pete Garcia
Location Miami, Florida
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium FIU Stadium
Basketball arena FIU Arena
Baseball stadium FIU Baseball Stadium
Mascot Roary the Panther
Nickname Panthers
Fight song FIU Fight Song
     Blue       Gold
Website .com.fiusportswww

The FIU Panthers are the athletic teams of Florida International University (FIU), a public university located in Miami, Florida, United States. The Panthers compete in NCAA Division I athletics, and are currently members of Conference USA.

Sports teams

A member of Conference USA, FIU sponsors teams in seven men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[1]
  • NOTE: Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which will have its first national championship in the spring of 2016.[2] FIU competes as a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.

History and introduction

Division Years Conference Affiliation
Division II (NCAA) 1965–66 to 1987–88 Independent[3]
Division I (NCAA) 1988–89 to 1990–91 Independent
1991–92 to 1997–98 Trans America Athletic Conference
(now Atlantic Sun Conference)
1998–99 to 2012–13 Sun Belt Conference
2013–14 Conference USA (East)
The old Golden Panther logo used from 2001 to 2008.

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 an 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. The Panthers lent their name to Miami's NHL team, the Florida Panthers.

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.

FIU's Athletic Department has produced several 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.

FIU's main rivals are the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Atlantic University Owls.

Varsity sports


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.[4][5][6][7]

Team honors

Men's basketball

FIU at UCLA Pauley Pavilion, 2008

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.

FIU alumni who have played in the National Basketball Association include Carlos Arroyo and Raja Bell.

Team honors

Women's basketball

The women's basketball team is coached by Marlin Chinn, and play their home games on-campus at FIU Arena.

Team honors

Cross country

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 Panthers play at the on-campus FIU Stadium.
FIU fans at a football game at FIU Stadium.

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 Mario Cristobal and play at FIU 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 teams play annually in a game known as the Shula Bowl. The game is named after former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula.

Team honors
  • Sun Belt Conference Champions (1): 2010

Men's soccer

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

Women's soccer

The women's soccer team competes in Conference USA after previously being unaffiliated from 1985-1999 and a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 2000 through 2012.

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


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 FIU Arena 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

Notable non varsity sports


Founded in 1989,[8] 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.[9]


FIU Recreation Center
FIU Arena, home of the Panther volleyball and basketball teams
Mike Martinez[10] batting for the Panthers at FIU Baseball Stadium, home of the Panther baseball team

FIU Stadium

FIU 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 FIU 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.

FIU Arena

FIU Arena (previously known as Sunblazer Arena, Golden Panther Arena, Pharmed Arena, and U.S. Century Bank Arena), is a 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena that opened on February 1, 1986. The Florida International University 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 the local bank of that name acquired naming rights.

Other events such as MTV's Campus Invasion, music concerts, ceremonies and fairs are also held year-round at the arena.

FIU Baseball Stadium

FIU Baseball Stadium 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.


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  8. ^ Club History. Accessed October 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "FIU Downs Rivals, Thinks Big", Goff Rugby Report, October 14, 2015.
  10. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • FIU Insider
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