The Illinois State fight song was penned in 1932 by Kenyon S. Fletcher, who was an industrial technology professor, an alum, and the school's band director. The original lyrics reflected the University's name at the time—ISNU. The "N" stood for "Normal" and the song included the line:
"Here's to Normal, dear old Normal, Hail to ISNU."
The song went by several different names in its early years, including "Normal Loyalty," "The Redbirds Marching Song," and "The Redbirds." When the institution became Illinois State University, President Robert Bone approved a contest to help write more fitting lyrics. The melody remained unchanged. Senior William A. Holt of Lockport picked up $50 for writing:
"Go you Redbirds, on to battle!
Hold our banner high!
Every voice will shout your praise,
and our spirit cannot die"
The lyrics continued to evolve over the next several years to become the song now cherished. The first stanza is played and the fans sing as Redbird student-athletes enter the floor or field. It’s also become tradition for the athletes to lead the home crowd in singing the fight song after a win. The lyrics are as follows:
"Go You Redbirds onto battle! Fight for ISU.
Raise the banner, red, and white; to this emblem we'll be true.
So let us cheer the Redbirds on to victory! Every voice proclaim:
'We've got the fight! We've got the might! Let's win this game.'"