The University of Dubuque has a rich and storied athletic tradition. The history of sports at the University of Dubuque spans more than a century of events influenced by leading coaches and defined by student-athletes.
Founded in 1852, the University of Dubuque was involved in physical activities as early as 1866. UD women competed in its first intercollegiate competition—a volleyball game in 1974. A year later, UD added women’s golf and won their first women’s conference championship. Women’s basketball was officially added in 1976, but UD played the sport early in the 1900s competing in the Dubuque City League and against local club teams. Today the University supports 23 teams and numerous intramural sports in state-of-the-art facilities. Sports at the University continue to evolve, reflecting the changing trends and interests in athletics.
The changes in facilities, including construction and remodeling of varsity and practice sites, represent the physical plant evolution of sports at UD. The stories behind these building efforts demonstrate the University's resilience in the face of challenges an appreciation for tradition, with a vision for the future.
UD is a member of the American Rivers Conference and the NCAA Division III. More than 180,000 student-athletes at 450 institutions make up Division III, the largest NCAA division both in number of participants and number of schools. The Division III experience offers participation in a competitive athletic environment that pushes student-athletes to excel on the field and build upon their potential by tackling new challenges across campus.
Academics are the primary focus for Division III student-athletes. The division minimizes the conflicts between athletics and academics and helps student-athletes progress toward graduation through shorter practice and playing seasons and regional competition that reduces time away from academic studies. Participants are integrated on campus and treated like all other members of the student body, keeping them focused on being a student first.