Panthers Highlights

General Information

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Missouri Valley (1991-present)
Past Conferences: Mid-Continent
City: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Arena: McLeod Center
NCAA Tournaments: 8 (1990, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016)


National Championships: None
Conference Tournament Titles: 6 (1990, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016)
Conference Regular Season Titles: 4 (2009, 2010, 2020, 2022)

Team History

The Northern Iowa Panthers are a Division I program located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Northern Iowa currently competes in the Missouri Valley Conference and is coached by Ben Jacobson, the program’s all-time wins leader.
Northern Iowa has established itself as one of the steadier mid-majors in the Midwest with eight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2010. That magical run by the ninth-seeded Panthers included a second-round upset of No. 1 Kansas.

The Panthers beat the odds again in 2016, when, as a No. 11 seed, they knocked off No. 6 Texas in the opening round.

Altogether, Northern Iowa is 5-8 in NCAA Tournament games. The school has also been to the National Invitational Tournament twice, and is 2-2 all-time in that event, including an appearance in the second round in 2022. Additionally, Northern Iowa has competed two times in the Tournament.

First-Ever Top-10 Ranking

Northern Iowa has hit the 20-win plateau nine times under Jacobson’s watch, while two teams have won at least 30. In 2010, Jacobson’s fourth season, the Panthers went 30-5 to mark the school record for wins and finished ranked No. 13 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. He then guided the Panthers to a 31-4 mark in 2015, including an MVC Tournament championship and the program’s first-ever top-10 ranking. They also won an NCAA Tournament game for the fourth time that season, beating 12th-seeded Wyoming.

Before taking over as head coach, Jacobson was an assistant from 2001-06 under Greg McDermott and was instrumental in helping Northern Iowa rise up the ranks in the MVC. The Panthers made their second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2004 —their first in more than a decade— and returned in both 2005 and 2006.

Jacobson, the five-time MVC Coach of the Year, entered 2022 with a career record of 321-201. Northern Iowa was picked fifth in the conference’s preseason poll. Notably, he’s the only coach in the league’s history with victories over two different No. 1-ranked teams (Kansas and North Carolina.)

The program’s alumni base includes NBA championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse, who played for Northern Iowa from 1985-89. Nurse is the school’s all-time, 3-point percentage leader at .468.

All-Time Records

  • Points Scored
    • Jason Reese: 2033
    • Randy Kraayenbrink: 2003
    • Ben Jacobson: 1,787
  • Rebounds
    • Eric Coleman: 997
    • Grant Stout: 920
    • Seth Tuttle: 917
  • Assists
    • Dale Turner: 520
    • Brooks McKowen: 425
    • Robbie Williams: 418


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