Title IX special: In the beginning ...
A rundown of the academic years that Illini women's athletic teams started competition under the sponsorship of the University of Illinois Athletic Association (now known as the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics):
SPORT YEAR COMMENT
Basketball 1974-75 Defeated Eastern Illinois 57-51 in OT in first home game (Jan. 23, 1975, at the Assembly Hall)
Cross-country 1977-78 Compiled 13-0 record in dual meets during first four seasons before finally losing
Golf 1974-75 Just three coaches in program's history: Betsy Kimpel, Paula Smith and Renee Slone
Gymnastics 1974-75 Urbana native Nancy Thies, a 1972 Olympian, was Illini's first All-American in 1976
Soccer 1997-98 Program was in NCAA tournament (and won first-round match) within four years of its startup
Softball 1999-2000 NCAA Division I independent in first season; began competing as Big Ten member in 2001
Swimming 1974-75 Program won AIAW state meet three years in a row beginning in 1976
Tennis 1974-75 Coach Peggy Pruitt's Illini went 6-0 in dual meets in program's debut season
Track & field 1974-75 1976 team won five of first six meets under first-year coach Jessica Dragicevic
Volleyball 1974-75 Program posted winning records in each of its first five seasons
— The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women served as the national governing body for women's college athletics from 1971 to '82. The NCAA assumed that role for member schools at the start of the 1981-82 academic year. After the 1981-82 academic year, the AIAW discontinued sponsorship of national championships and later was legally dissolved.
— Big Ten member schools affiliated their women's athletic programs with the conference beginning in the 1981-82 academic year.