|Central Missouri Mules
|University||University of Central Missouri|
|Athletic director||Jerry Hughes|
|Football stadium||Audrey J. Walton Stadium|
|Basketball arena||UCM Multipurpose Building|
|Mascot||Mo the Mule|
|Nickname||Mules & Jennies|
|Fight song||'Go Mules'|
|Colors||Cardinal and Black
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, Missouri, 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, Missouri, 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."
In truth, however, mules are sired by jack asses (male donkeys) mated to mares (female horses). A jenny crossed with a stallion produces a hinny.
The Mules have been playing basketball since 1905, and are among the top two teams in all-time wins on the NCAA Division II level. The Mules have won four national titles: in 1937, 1938 (both NAIA, before the NCAA sponsored a Division II tournament), in 1984 (when UCM, then Central Missouri State University, was the first school ever to win NCAA men's and women's basketball championships in the same season), and in 2014. UCM swept the Division II titles in 1984. (The feat was later duplicated by Northwestern College (Iowa) in NAIA Division II in 2001 and the University of Connecticut in NCAA Division I in 2004 and 2014, although the Mules are the only team to win both championships on the same day and on the same court.)
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.
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.
Currently, there are 14 professionals that attended Central Missouri.
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, Missouri. In 2002, they made their first ever trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, losing to Northern Colorado 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 eight MIAA conference titles in football. (1926, 1956, 1970, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003)
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.