WMU athletic teams were once known as the Hilltoppers, a reference to the school's location on top of Prospect Hill, but changed their nickname in 1939 to the Broncos to avoid confusion with teams of other schools such as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. John Gill, an assistant coach on the football team who later served as head coach, coined the new athletic nickname after approval for the name change was granted by the school's athletic board. In 2011, WMU commissioned artist Revere La Noue to create a 6,500-square-foot building wrap representing the Broncos for the 2011 ArtPrize competition. WMU president John Dunn has said that the work, "Epic Broncos", captures the "history and pride of being a Bronco".
The baseball team has represented WMU since its first season in 1911, compiling an overall record of 1,822–1349–23 (.574) through 2012. They have appeared in the College World Series six times, most recently in 1963. In the 1955 College World Series, WMU finished as the NCAA runner-up, losing to Wake Forest 7–6 in the championship game. The Broncos had a 6–3 lead in the fifth inning of that game.
WMU has won 14 Mid-American Conference championships, including 13 of 19 from 1949 to 1967.
The Broncos are currently coached by Billy Gernon in his second season as WMU manager. They most recently had a 26–29 (.473) record in 2012.
Former professional hockey player Keith Jones played four years for the Broncos, from 1988-89 to 1991-92. He made the CCHA First All-Star Team his senior year.Western Michigan also has a div111 team the stalions
The volleyball team has been competing at Western Michigan University since 1965. In that span, the team has won 7 MAC regular season championships (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2000) and 4 MAC tournament championships (1987, 1988, 1989, 2000). WMU's all-time overall record is 705-482-9 (.593) and all-time conference record is 261-122 (.681).
The Broncos are coached by Colleen Munson. In her two years at WMU, she has compiled a 41-24 (.631) record.
For the 2010–11 season, WMU was awarded the Cartwright Award, given to one MAC program each season for excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship. For the season, WMU won the Jacoby Trophy (most successful women's program) and finished second for the Reese Trophy (most successful men's program).
Although the sport of synchronized skating is not yet an official NCAA sport Western Michigan is home to an internationally competitive synchronized skating team, who have medalled at competitions around the world. The Bronco's synchronized skating program consists of a senior team, which competes internationally as well as a collegiate level team which is competitive among the top university and collegiate teams from around the United States.
The team lost their athletic funding and Varsity status along with Men's Cross Country and Track & Field in the 2003-2004 competitive season, and became a Club sport.