University News

Review Proposal To Unify Western Athletic Team Names

September 26, 2007

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University President Al Goldfarb is reviewing a proposal to unify the athletic team names to Leathernecks.

Goldfarb held an initial meeting today (Sept. 26) with coaches from Western women's and men's athletic teams. He plans future sessions to discuss the proposal with WIU student-athletes, Western Athletic Club members and campus leadership groups. The proposal was brought forward by Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson and Athletic Director and Assistant Vice President for Student Services Tim Van Alstine on behalf of requests they receive annually from women's teams coaches and players.

"The proposal to unify names must be considered in the context of the history and tradition of women's and men's athletics at Western," Goldfarb said. "It is important to consider all points of view and obtain broad-based input before a decision is made on an issue with such significance within our athletic programs."

Goldfarb and Director of Equal Opportunity and Access Cathy Couza seek input from the campus community, alumni and others through e-mail submissions and a voluntary web-based survey available at

Currently, WIU women's teams are named Westerwinds, and men's teams are named Leathernecks. In 1927 Western first used the Leathernecks name for men's athletic teams. In 1977 the Westerwinds name was established for women's intercollegiate athletics teams.

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Office of University Relations