Prior to its discontinuation as a Big Ten sponsored sport after the 1988 season, Iowa and Northwestern reigned supreme over the league's field hockey landscape. In the eight years after the initial inception of the sport, Iowa claimed four outright conference titles, Northwestern earned three, while both the Hawkeyes and Wildcats shared the 1983 championship. During that span, Iowa won both Big Ten and NCAA Championship titles in 1986.
When Purdue's field hockey program dissolved following the 1987 season, only five conference teams remained, which forced league officials to discontinue the sport as it did not meet the minimum requirement of six teams. Those five teams - Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State - competed in the Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference from 1989-91. However, the Big Ten reinstated the sport in 1992 when Penn State joined the conference. In 2000, Indiana implemented its field hockey program and became the seventh and most recent conference team in the sport.
While Iowa (10) and Northwestern (5) own a combined 15 Big Ten titles, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State have proven the dominant teams in recent years. After winning its initial conference championship in 1997, Michigan claimed the 2000 title and won three straight from 2002-04. While the Wolverines did not win the 2001 conference championship, they stormed through the NCAA Championship bracket that year and earned the league's second-ever NCAA title. Penn State has recorded four Big Ten championships, including an outright title in 2005 after posting an undefeated league mark of 6-0. Michigan State has shared all three conference titles it has earned since 2001.
Michigan and Penn State lead all conference teams with four Big Ten Tournament wins. The Wolverines have won the past two titles, while the Lady Lions' titles came consecutively from 1995-98. Michigan State has earned two postseason championships, while Iowa, which won the initial Big Ten Tournament in 1994, and Ohio State have each won the event once.
In NCAA Championship success, Iowa leads all Big Ten teams with 17 appearances, followed by Northwestern and Penn State with 12 apiece and Michigan (7), Michigan State (4), Ohio State (3) and Indiana (1). The conference has had six national finalists, including two NCAA champions, five third-place finishers and has sent multiple teams to the national semifinals on five separate occasions.
Individually, former Iowa head coach Beth Beglin leads all conference mentors with five Big Ten Coach of the Year awards. Beglin coached several Hawkeye greats including 1992 and 1993 conference Offensive Player and Athlete of the Year Kristy Gleason. Four student-athletes have earned All-Big Ten honors in each of the four years they competed. Northwestern's Amy Kekeisen (1982-85) and Jennifer Averill (1983-86) were the first to do so, while Iowa's Liz Tchou (1984-87) and Michigan's Kristi Gannon (2000-03) also accomplished the feat.