Illinois State won six team titles during the 2018–19 season, which resulted in the Redbirds being crowned as the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Champion.
For the first time since 2009–10 and the 13th time overall, Illinois State took home the league’s top honor. ISU’s team championships (or co-championships) in baseball, men’s indoor track & field, women’s tennis, women’s indoor track & field, women’s outdoor track and field, and in volleyball led to an aggregate score of 7.776.
“The Redbirds had a very strong year across the board, with the six MVC championships certainly set the tone,” Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons said. “All the credit goes to the coaches and student-athletes who put in the work and competed at a high level throughout the year. Also, our support staff was a big part of this effort including strength and conditioning, athletic training, nutrition, equipment, compliance, and our academic support team. I think it is important to mention that we also broke our GPA record by posting a 3.31 this spring. I am so thankful for our committed student-athletes and staff, as we got it done in the classroom and in our various competitive venues. Our fans, donors, alumni, and community should be very proud of their Redbirds.”
Counting Illinois State this year, only seven times since 1992–93 (merger of MVC men’s and women’s sports) has an institution had more than five team titles. Illinois State had claimed six or more league titles in its history four other times, but all before the MVC/Gateway conferences merged for that 1992–93 season. Either Illinois State, Missouri State or Wichita State, meanwhile, has earned the league’s all-sports championship trophy every year since 1995. Notably, the Redbirds have finished first, second, or third in 26 of the past 29 years.
Fueled by its two titles, two second-place finishes, and three third-place showings, UNI finished second in the all-sports trophy race with an aggregate score of 6.990. The runner-up finish marks UNI’s highest finish since also finishing second in 2016-17 and in 2000-01. The Panthers have finished third on two other occasions (2002–03 and 2006–07). Southern Illinois (6.441) finished third in the all-sports trophy race and has finished in the top three in each of the past five seasons. Missouri State (6.264), Bradley (6.204), and Drake (5.848) finished next best in the standings as those three institutions combined for six league titles (three by Drake, two by Bradley and one by Missouri State). Missouri State was the 2017–18 MVC All-Sports Champion, while Bradley enjoyed its best finish in the All-Sports trophy race since taking fourth in the standings in 1987–88.
In 2016–17, the MVC introduced a new point system to determine the league’s all-sports champion. The All-Sports Trophy is based on a school’s average finish in each of the sponsored championships by the Missouri Valley Conference. Teams are awarded 10 points for first, nine for second, eight for third, etc., and the total accumulated points are divided by the number of sports in which a particular school competes. Finishes in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball are based on regular-season competition. All other sports are determined by finish at the championship tournament or championship meet.