Athletics at IWU live in the minds and imaginations of the fans, more so than in any real competition. There is a rich history of rivalries and professional stars that started out as Titans, stories of great players and quiet lessons. Retired basketball coach Denny Bridges is a campus legend. He's still involved with the athletics department, but only plays a small role. He led the Wesleyan basketball squad to the finals a few years in a row and finally won the national championship. Since then, basketball has remained the pride and joy of Illinois Wesleyan. The crowd involvement brings the excitement from the floor into the stands and creates a frenzy. Football is the second most exciting sport on campus, but doesn't generate as much attention.
Athletics aren't an essential part of campus life, but this isn't a Big 10 school. We don't have any national television coverage, office pools, or big bowl games deciding the funding of our athletic program. Professional sports are actually much more popular on campus than anything. The same can't be said about the current state of IWU athletics. Many students are involved in the varsity sports, but even more take part in recreational and intramural games. This relaxed attitude toward sports emphasizes the role of academics and other student interests.