Central Oklahoma Bronchos
|Central Oklahoma Bronchos|
|University||University of Central Oklahoma|
|Athletic director||Joe Muller|
|Football stadium||Wantland Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Hamilton Field House|
|Baseball stadium||Wendell Simmons Field|
|Fight song||UCO Fight Song|
Blue and Bronze|
The Central Oklahoma Bronchos, often referred to as Central Oklahoma, Central State or UCO, are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing University of Central Oklahoma. The official colors of the teams are bronze and blue. Central Oklahoma participates in the NCAA Division II level and has competed a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. They were added to the conference along with fellow in-state rival Northeastern State University in 2012.
Previously, Central Oklahoma competed in the first Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference from 1919 to 1929; the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference from 1929 to 1974; was a charter member of the second Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference from 1974 to 1976; as an NAIA Independent from 1976 to 1988 and the Lone Star Conference from 1987 to 2011, participating in the North Division.
UCO currently fields the following 14 sports at the NCAA Division II level:
The University of Central Oklahoma football team began in 1902 and has since compiled 600 wins, two national championships, and 24 conference championships. As of 2011, the Bronchos were ranked third in NCAA Division II for total wins and ranked 12th in winning percentage (0.621). In 1962, the Bronchos went 11–0 on the season and defeated Lenoir-Rhyne University (NC) 28–13 in the Camellia Bowl to claim its first NAIA national championship. Twenty years later, Central Oklahoma defended its home turf and defeated Colorado Mesa University (then Mesa State College) 14–11 in the NAIA national championship game to take its second title and finish the season with a 10–2 record.
Despite its rich history in football, Central Oklahoma has struggled in recent years, posting a 19–35 record and attaining only one winning season in the last five years. The decline in performance coincided with the NCAA's decision to place the Bronchos on three years probation for "lack of institutional control", starting in 2008. Chuck Langston, the Bronchos' head coach during the period when the rules violations occurred, was fired and replaced by Tracy Holland. As a result of penalties, UCO's roster was reduced from 100 players to 90 players each season during the probation, and Holland's win-loss record declined each year. In December 2011, Tracy Holland was fired as head coach after compiling a 15–29 record during his four seasons at the helm. The following month, Nick Bobeck, a UCO-alumnus and former fullback for the Bronchos, was hired to take the reins as head football coach at UCO.
The Bronchos play their home games at Wantland Stadium, a 10,000-seat football coliseum built in 1965. The Bronchos have enjoyed nine undefeated home seasons and are 5–1 in playoff games at Wantland Stadium. As of 2011, their current record at home stands at 155–81–5, a 65.4 winning percentage.
- Conference Championships (24)
- 1923, 1924, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1972, 1998, 1999
The men's basketball team has enjoyed recent success and rose to national prominence since the 2000s with head coach Terry Evans and national Division II player of the year Daunte Williams. It currently plays in Hamilton Field House. While the team has never won a national championship, it has played in 17 national tournaments, and has made the NAIA and NCAA Division II Elite Eight four times. The team played in the 2008 Elite Eight, and lost to Augusta State University in double overtime. The Bronchos hosted the South Central Regional in 2011 but lost to Midwestern State in the Regional finals.
The Bronchos have one notable player in the NBA, Eddie Robinson who played five seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls.
- Conference Championships (17)
- 1937, 1938, 1939, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1964, 1974, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2010
The Central Oklahoma Baseball team began in 1896, and is currently coached by Dax Leone. The Bronchos have eight national tournament appearances, as most recently as 2006. The program had 16 All Americans, and 15 since 1990. The Bronchos highest national finish came in 1997, when they finished runner-up to Chico State in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. Their home field is Wendell Simmons Field, named long time coach Wendell Simmons.
- Conference Championships and Division Championships (14)
- 1929, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1947, 1948, 1963, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
With seven NCAA Division II team national championships, wrestling is one of the most successful sports at Central Oklahoma. In the 1990s, the Bronchos enjoyed a streak of four straight national championships (1992–1995). UCO's three most recent crowns came in 2002, 2003, and 2007. Mixed Martial Artist and current UFC fighters Tim Elliott and Muhammed Lawal wrestled for the Bronchos while attending Central Oklahoma.
- NCAA Division II National Championships (7)
- 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2007
- NAIA National Championships (8)
- 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989
The UCO softball team won the 2013 National Championship.
Women's rowing was established by the university in 2008. The team competes from a state-of-the-art boathouse facility located on the Oklahoma River. In addition to accommodating the UCO rowing team, the facility is used as a training facility for United States Olympic and Paralympic programs.
- Wantland Stadium is home for Broncho football. First used in 1965, it went under a $16 Million renovation in 2005 increasing the seating capacity to 10,000.
- Hamilton Field House is the 3,000-seat multipurpose arena located on the campus of the university. It serves as the home for Broncho Basketball, Volleyball, and Wrestling.
- Wendell Simmons Field is the home for Broncho baseball. The facility seats roughly 1,400 and is located on the North side of the campus. It was renamed in 2011 after long-time Bronchos coach Wendell Simmons who retired in 2010.
- Co-ed Bass Fishing
- Co-ed Bowling
- Men's Ice Hockey
- Co-ed Sailing
- Shotgun Club
- Men's Soccer
- Men's Track and Field
The UCO men's ice hockey team was founded in 2006 and currently competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association as an independent team at the ACHA Division I level. UCO Bronchos main rival is the University of Oklahoma Sooners. The home games are played off campus at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena and is coached by Craig McAlister, the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I Coach of the Year for 2008–2009. The 2009–10 season saw the Bronchos advance to the Semi-Final Round of the ACHA Men's Division I National Tournament before losing to the eventual nation champions, Lindenwood University. The 2010 fourth-place finish was the team's highest in its history at the time; following the season the team was honored by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The team finished the 2011–12 regular season with a 15–22–1 record and qualified for the 2012 ACHA Division I Nationals, ranked 15th. UCO defeated Kent State 2–1 in the opening round before the team lost to Lindenwood 5–2 in the round. In 2015, the hockey club captured the ACHA National Championship with a win over Stony Brook by a score of 4–0.
Rugby Football Club
The University of Central Oklahoma Rugby Football Club existed from 2007–2011. The rugby team recorded their most famous victory of The University of Tulsa on January 31, 2009, by winning the match 26–0.
The Bronchos have had seven athletic directors.
|Charles W. Wantland||1912–1931|
|Dale E. Hamilton||1941–1976|
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