Celebrating 125 seasons of UNI Football

Celebrating 125 seasons of UNI Football

Panther Anniversary

Since the first season of football at the Iowa State Normal School in 1895, Panther football has built a legacy few programs around the country can match. With 31 conference championship seasons, nearly 700 wins all-time and 22 FCS playoff appearances, UNI football has built a historic resume with legendary athletes, iconic coaches and unforgettable memories.

The Panthers honored this anniversary season with a 125th season decal on their helmets all season long.

125-UNI Football-1895 to 2023-logo

The First Leader

When the Panthers played their first two seasons in 1895 and 1896, they had no head coach.

UNI Panthers huddled and cheering after an incredible score

All-American Panthers

115 members of the UNI football team have earned AP All-American recognition during their careers as Panthers. This includes 29 First Team selections, 27 Second Team, 24 Third Team and 35 earning honorable mention nods.

Players from the 1994 UNI Football team cheering with their helmets raised in the air

History and Memorable Moments


UNI, then the Iowa State Normal School, kicked off its first football season in 1895 with a 12-10 win over Coe College. The Panthers have played every year since, with the exception of 1906, 1907, 1944 and 1945.


Led by 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns by All-American running back Randy Schultz, ʼ71, the State College of Iowa Panthers defeated Lamar Tech in the Pecan Bowl for the program’s first-ever postseason victory, 19-17 in front of 7,500 spectators at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene, Texas.


The UNI-Dome opened its doors as the new home of Panther football. UNI won 228 games inside the Dome in its first 46 seasons, which included a remarkable 30-3 home mark during the Darrell Mudra era (1983-87).


One of the most memorable seasons in school history, the Panthers reached their first-ever national championship game. Despite falling to No. 4 Appalachian State, 21-16 in the title game, the 2005 season remains the deepest postseason run in program history.


The Panthers completed the first perfect regular season in program and conference history going 11-0.


With a 25-20 week one win at Iowa State, head coach Mark Farley, ʼ86, ʼ94, surpassed Stan Sheriff as the winningest coach in program history.

Defensive lineman Karter Schult, ʼ16, wins the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in FCS football.


Offensive lineman Trevor Penning, ʼ21, made history as UNI’s first-ever first round draft pick in the NFL in 2022, being selected by the New Orleans Saints.

We know today’s program would not be where it is today without those who came before us to create a legacy and inspire our up-and-coming generations to achieve greatness.

Mark Farley
Head Football Coach
Kurt Warner in 1994 wearing his UNI Panthers jersey

Kurt Warner, '94

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Super Bowl XXXIV Champion
  • Super Bowl XXXIV MVP
  • Two time NFL Most Valuable Player
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
Bryce Paup tackles an opponent in the NFL

Bryce Paup, '16

  • 1995 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
  • First-team All-Pro
  • 4x NFL Pro Bowl
  • Rejoined UNI Football in July 2018 to lead the defensive line
  • Named assistant head coach of UNI Football in 2022