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The sports teams at the University of Central Missouri are known as the Mules (men) and Jennies (women). They participate in the NCAA's Division II and in the MIAA Conference.

Men's sports

Women's sports
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball

Origin of 'Mules'

When the 1921-22 school year began, school officials decided "Normals" and "Teachers" were no longer appropriate nicknames for Central's athletic teams. Therefore, the school's athletic committee established a contest that promised the winner a three-year postgraduate subscription of the school newspaper. More than 80 suggestions were received, but the winning entry was submitted by John Thomason of Chilhowee, Missourimarker, Class of 1924, who felt that at least one Missouri team should be known as "Mules".

The "Jennies" nickname for Central Missouri's women's athletic teams was officially adopted in February, 1974 after the school's student newspaper, The Muleskinner, offered a prize of $50 in a contest to choose a nickname for the women's athletic teams. Cynthia Almaguer of Knob Noster, Missourimarker, Class of 1974, was chosen winner from 34 entries. Almaguer told the contest judges, "The reason I picked the name is because of the obvious feminine kinship of the jenny to our mule mascot. It is a fact that a mule is a descendant of a female donkey -- the jenny."

Men's basketball

The Mules have been playing basketball since 1905, and are among the top five teams in all-time wins on the NCAA Division II level. The Mules have won three national titles: in 1937, 1938 (both NAIA, before the NCAA sponsored a Division II tournament), and 1984, when UCM, then Central Missouri State, was the first school ever to win NCAA men's and women's basketball championships in the same season. UCM swept the Division II titles in 1984. (The feat was later duplicated by Northwestern College marker in NAIA Division II in 2001 and the University of Connecticut in NCAA Division I in 2004.)

Entering the 2008-2009 season, Central Missouri was second in Division II history in wins, with 1,469. Only Central Washingtonmarker has more.

The Mules are currently under the leadership of Head Coach Kim Anderson, a standout player in the late 1970s at the University of Missouri under coach Norm Stewart.

2006-2007 Season

In the 2006-07 season, the Mules returned to the Division II Elite Eight in Springfield, Massachusettsmarker. They defeated Montevallomarker to move on to the semi-finals, where they faced the then-unbeaten defending Division II champion Winona Statemarker. The Mules lost to Winona in overtime 90-85, ending the season 31-4, which set a new school record for most wins in a season.

After the season, the NCAA announced that UCM led all of Division II in attendance for Men's Basketball, at 3,640 fans per home game.

2008-2009 Season

After an 18-10 record in 2007-2008, Central again looked to have a strong team after rebuilding. After attaining a 23-4 mark in the regular season, the Mules won the conference tournament in Kansas Citymarker. Central used that momentum to win the NCAA South Central regional.

As they did in 2007, the Mules traveled to the 2009 Elite Eight. Central defeated Gannon Universitymarker 86-77 to advance to the semi-finals. To this point, the similarities to the 06-07 season were many. However, just as they did two years earlier, the Mules were defeated in the Final Four by Findlay 67-65.

Prominent men's basketball coaches

  • Phog Allen - coached at UCM 1912-1919; compiled 84-31 record before returning to coach his alma mater, the University of Kansas.
  • Gene Bartow - coached only three seasons, 1961-64; coached for 34 seasons at the collegiate level, including succeeding John Wooden at UCLA in 1975 and creating the basketball program at UAB.
  • Joe B. Hall - followed Bartow as coach for the 1964-65 season before going to the University of Kentucky, where he would eventually succeed the legendary Adolph Rupp in 1972.
  • Lynn Nance - came to UCM from Iowa State in time for the 1980-81 season. Nance led the Mules to their third national championship in 1984. He stayed at the helm until 1985 and finished with a record of 115-35. He went on to coach at the University of Washington.
  • Jim Wooldridge - followed Nance, coaching 1985-91, in which he compiled a record of 131-48. His final three squads made the sweet sixteen in Division II. He coached in the Big 12 at Kansas State University from 2000-2006.

Season by season results

Under Kim Anderson:

Women's basketball

The University has sponsored women's basketball since 1970. The Jennies began competing on the NCAA Division II level during the 1982-83 season. Prior to that, they were members of the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). In the 35 seasons of Jennies basketball, only one season has ended with a sub-.500 record, that season being 2002-03. Besides the national title in 1984, the program has a history of great postseason success.

  • 1983 - Final Four
  • 1984 - Won Title
  • 1985 - Lost title game
  • 1986 - Elite Eight
  • 1987 - Sweet Sixteen
  • 1988 - Sweet Sixteen
  • 1989 - Final Four
  • 1990 - Elite Eight

Overall, the Jennies have a record of 19-14 in the NCAA Division II Tournament. They last participated in the Division II tournament in 2006.

In the 2006-07 season, despite one of the worst season's in school history at 14-14, UCM was 10th in all of Division II in home attendance.


The Mules baseball program has been arguably the most successful program in the school's history. The team has taken part in the Division II World Series 13 times, 12 of those being since 1989. They have been to the title game three times, winning the title in 1994 and 2003. The Mules have a large number of current pro players, especially considering that UCM is a Division II school. In the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft, five Mules were selected in the first 11 rounds.

Current Professional players

  • Morgan Burkhart (played 1994) - First Base - Algodoneros de Guasave (Mexican League)
  • Francisco Leandro (2004) - Outfielder - Southwest Michigan (Class A - Devil Rays)
  • Steve Sharpe (2004) - Right-handed Pitcher - Midland (Class AA - Athletics)
  • Josh Outman (2005) - Left-handed Pitcher - Clearwater (Class A - Phillies)
  • Mike Phelps (2004-05) - Right-handed Pitcher - Daytona (Advanced A - Cubs)
  • Danny Powers (2003-05) - Right-handed Pitcher - New Brittan (Class AA - Twins)
  • Jason Schutt (2005) - Right-handed Pitcher - Lake County (Class A - Cleveland)
  • Nick Webber (2003-05) - Right-handed Pitcher - Springfield (Mo.) (Class AA - Cardinals)
  • Bridger Hunt (2006) - Third Baseman -Great Lakes (Class A - Dodgers)
  • Brent Lacy (2004-05) - Catcher - Mahoning Valley (Short A - Indians)
  • Phil Sobkow (2003) - Right-handed Pitcher - Calgary (Independent League)
  • Steve Murphy (2003) - Outfielder - Frisco - (Class AA- Rangers)


Football has been sponsored by the university since 1895. Historically, it has not enjoyed the consistent success that other athletic teams have had. However, with the hiring of head coach Willie Fritz before the 1997 season, the Mules became relevant again. Since coming to UCM, Fritz has a record of 82-40. That includes two postseason appearances. In 2001, the Mules went 10-2 and won the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Missourimarker. In 2002, they made their first ever trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, losing to Northern Coloradomarker 49-28.

Prior to the NCAA sponsoring a playoff in Division II, Central Missouri played in three bowl games.

The Mules have won or shared six MIAA conference titles in football.

Prominent Coaches

The Mules have had two prominent coaches who have guided them. Phog Allen coached football at Central from 1912-1917, with a record of 29-19-2. Al Molde came on in 1980. Molde only stayed three seasons, but his tenure turned around a program that wished the 1970s never happened. Central's record from 1971-79 was 27-63-2. Molde left in 1983 after compiling a 17-9-4 record in his three seasons. After leaving Central Missouri, Molde coached at Eastern Illinois, followed by Division I Western Michigan.

Mules In The Pros


External links

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