Since the creation of the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union in 1961, Western has accumulated 31 national titles, making it one of the most successful institutions in the country in terms of athletic excellence.
The CIAU has since changed its name to Canadian Interuniversity Sport, but Western's successes have not diminished since the rebranding.
It must be noted that a number of teams at Western do not compete under the auspices of CIS. For instance, the Mustangs cheerleading squad has won 30 national titles, but CIS does not consider it a varsity sport.
Here are the top five Mustang programs in terms of CIS championships.
5. Women's Volleyball:
Three championships (1971-1972, 1974-1975, 1975-1976)
The 1970s were a great decade for the Western Mustangs.
Football was dominating, men's cross country was competing with U of T in the national title race and the women's volleyball program was the first great dynasty in CIS women's volleyball.
The Mustangs appeared in five consecutive national finals during the 70's, winning three national titles during this period. Fran Wigston Eberhard took control over the program after the heartbreaking death of former head coach Joy Taylor, who passed away in a car crash shortly before the team's first national championship appearance.
4. Women's Track and Field
Four national championships (1980-1981, 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 2001-2002)
When the CIS first began holding a national women's track and field championship in 1981, the Mustangs dominated, earning a three-peat from 1981 to 1983.
After an 18-year drought with no national championships, the Mustangs came back under new head coach Vickie Croley in 2002, winning the fourth national title in program history.
3. Men's Cross Country
Four national championships (1970, 1971, 1976, 1985)
The Western men's cross country program has always had the challenge of competing in the shadow of their female counterparts. They also currently compete during a dominant run of unprecedented excellence for the Guelph Gryphons — nine championships in a row and counting.
Yet, the 1970s saw the rise of an epic rivalry between Western and the University of Toronto, who combined to win 10 of the first 16 CIS cross country national titles.
Led by star runner Grant McLaren, who was a two-time all-Canadian and 1971 CIS gold medalist, the Mustangs men's cross country team won back-to-back titles in 1970 and 1971. They then won again in '76 and '85.
Six Vanier Cups (1971, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1989, 1994)
Western has one of the most decorated football programs in Canada, with the most Vanier Cup appearances of any school: 12 times. The Mustangs have gone on to win six of these Vanier Cups, a feat only matched by the Laval Rouge et Or in 2010.
The '89 and '94 Vanier Cup teams were coached by legendary head coach Larry Haylor, a Canadian Football Hall of Famer who was the winningest coach in the CIS until 2011, when he was surpassed by Saskatchewan's Brian Towriss.
Western football has produced six Hec Creighton Award winners, two NFLers and has won the second most Vanier Cups in CIS history.
1. Women's Cross County
Seven CIS National Championships (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990)
The Western women's cross country team absolutely dominated the '80s, winning seven CIS titles between 1981 and 1990. The Mustangs team had 19 all-Canadians run from 1981 to 1990, including cross-country legends Sandra Anschuetz and Jill Purola, who were the first women in the history of CIS to be four-time all-Canadians.
The cross country program was lead by the great Bob Vigars, who taught and coached at Western for 46 years. Vigars ended his career at Western with a total of 14 CIS national championships under his name.