Retrospective: History of UIndy football

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Since the University of Indianapolis football team’s formation in 1923 and inaugural season in 1924, the program has recorded seven Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) championships and seven National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) appearances, according to UIndy Athletics. Additionally, according to UIndy Athletics and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development Matt Donovan, UIndy has had standout seasons from 1953, 1975, 2012, 2017 and more. 

With 1924 marking the first year of the program, football delivered its first conference title for the Hoosier College Conference back in 1947 when the school was named Indiana Central College, according to an article in The Reflector. A few years down the road, the program completed an undefeated season before a national tournament was introduced in 1953. In addition to their winning streak, the 1953 team produced an athlete: Dick Nyers, who later saw time in the National Football League (NFL), according to Donovan. 

“That was a tremendous team led by Dick Nyers…,” Donovan said. “Nyers was considered [at] that time one of the best athletes in the state of Indiana…. [He] went on to play for the Baltimore Colts [and] caught Johnny Unitas’ first touchdown pass.”

According to UIndy Athletics, the 1953 team was inducted into UIndy’s Hall of Fame in 2001, with a record of 8-0, having claimed the Hoosier College Conference Champions title once again. In 1975, the football program achieved something they had not done in their history: making it to the NCAA tournament, according to UIndy Athletics.

“The [19]75 team, when you look at it, was the best compilation of a bunch of guys that came together for that program,” Donovan said. “They got in the tournament, and that’s exactly what you want.” 

Around that time period, the program was known for competing in games with intercity rival Butler University, where they played against each other for the ‘Indy Top Dog’ trophy, even holding a banquet beforehand, according to the UIndy Library Archives. 

Since the 1975 team, the 2012 Greyhound team accomplished successes that many of the teams had not done before them or could not have done, according to UIndy Athletics. In 2012, the program won the first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championship while going back to the NCAA tournament where they collected their first win in program history in Division II. At the time, the team defeated the eighth ranked team, Midwestern State, to achieve this historic moment, according to UIndy Athletics. Donovan said this was a home game for the Greyhounds, and the energy could be felt throughout campus. 

“It was an absolutely beautiful day because [the] weather was great; [there was a] huge crowd,” Donovan said. “And the other part of it too, as it was just the best environment… there [was] such a great buzz within the campus community. There was a huge pep rally and Midwestern State was a Mustang, so they found a Mustang [vehicle] and they smashed it in the [Smith] Mall.”

Once the 2012 team claimed this victory, the Hounds set forth claiming the GLVC title in back-to-back seasons, while having 23 GLVC conference wins in a row snapped in 2014, according to UIndy Athletics. After not making the national tournament in 2014, the Greyhounds went back to the NCAA Tournament in 2015. Eventually, in 2017, the Greyhounds became the first team since the 1953 team to go undefeated in the regular season before losing in the national tournament. The 2017 group finished the regular season 11-0, according to UIndy Athletics. 

After all of the history of the program, the Greyhounds are still competing today, currently sitting at 7-1 as of The Reflector press time as the end of the regular season looms on the horizon, according to UIndy Athletics. 

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