Insane college nicknames and mascots (and other oddities…)
My son got me on a quest to track down the weirdest college athletic team nicknames and mascots and, boy, did I find some doozies. The absolute best is at the end of this post (it is really, really worth looking at, trust me), but if you want to see a nearly complete list of American university and college athletic team nicknames, check this guy’s website out (you have to scroll past a lot of ads). The following are some of my personal favorites including one that will make physicists, chemists, and engineers quite proud, plus the requisite reference to Bill Wootters.
- UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs Anyone with an interest in this somewhat arcane topic has heard of these guys. Apparently there are a lot of these things on campus.
- UC-Irvine Anteaters There must be something about California state schools. Well, it’s California after all.
- St. Louis University Billikens No one really knows what a ‘Billiken’ is but the mascot looks like a cross between a leprechaun and an alien.
- College of the Atlantic Black Flies I live in Maine and my cousin’s daughter goes to school at CAB. Maine is also home to the Black Fly Breeders Association and forty-two species of mosquito. Wanna come for a visit?
- Presbyterian College Blue Hose According to the college’s website, “A Blue Hose is a fierce Scottish warrior. If you have ever seen the movie Braveheart, you have seen a true Blue Hose.” Um, ok.
- U. of Arkansas – Monticello Boll Weevils Technically only the men’s teams have this nickname (the women are Cotton Blossoms). Supposedly the former university president responsible for the name claimed the boll weevil was the only thing that had ever licked the South (conveniently forgetting that little thing called the Civil War).
- Brooklyn College Bridges Likely a publicity stunt since they used to be the Kingsmen. I guess you could argue it was also a PC move in order to include the women, but who knows.
- Lubbock Christian University Chaparrals According to Wikipedia, a chaparral is “is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California”. (Lubbock is in the US state of Texas, by the way).
- Columbia College (Hollywood) Claim Jumpers While I can’t find any reference to this on the college’s website (I mean, why would you want to admit to something like that anyway?), several other websites claim this is true.
- Cal. State-Long Beach Dirtbags Technically only the men’s baseball team, but still…
- U. of San Francisco Dons Players are required to wear diamond rings on their pinky fingers and scholarships are awarded to people named ‘Vinny.’
- Williams College Ephs Eph U! (A number of my relatives have gone there and, of course, quantum genius Bill Wootters teaches there.)
- NYU Violets My in-laws both went there and confirmed this. I guess it’s no worse than any of the innumerable other teams named after colors.
- St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectic OK, dig out your thermodynamics text if you want to know what ‘eutectic’ means.
- Evergreen State Geoducks First, you should know that it is pronounced goo-ee ducks. Next you should know that a geoduck is, in fact, a mollusk. Click here to watch the mascot perform during a basketball game.
- Webster University Gorloks What is a ‘gorlok’ you ask? It is an intersection, specifically the intersection of Gore and Lockwood Avenues.
- Stetson University Hatters Clever (think about it).
- Pace University Setters Even more clever (think some more).
- Washburn University Ichabods Only the men’s teams have this nickname. Not sure what message this is intended to send. Too bad there’s not a team out there called the ‘Headless Horsemen.’
- Brandeis University Judges At least they’re not the Attorneys. Oh, wait, nevermind.
- Bryant & Stratton College – Cleveland Lemmings This is unverified but amusing considering the college’s reputation.
- Southwestern College Moundbuilders They’re apparently not talented enough to build actual structures.
- Rowan University Professors Awesome! I always dreamed of being a mascot.
- Lincoln Memorial U. Railsplitters I have no idea.
- SUNY College of Enviro. Sci. & Forestry Stumpies I know someone who went there. Clever.
- Trinity Christian College Trolls Something’s just not right about that.
- Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys Obviously only the men’s team. This has ‘double-meaning’ written all over it.
- University of Akron Zips These guys are in the same conference as my alma mater and I have thus wondered for many years just what the f%&^ is a ‘zip?’
- U. of South Carolina-Sumter Fire Ants Nasty.
- U. of Alaska-Southeast Humpback Whales Do they called themselves the ‘Humpies’ for short?
- Thomas Jefferson University Medics At least they’ll get expert medical treatment when they get clobbered by opponents.
- Muhlenberg College & Central Missouri State University Mules Yeah, let’s name our teams (only men in the case of the latter) after an infertile hybrid pack animal!
- Oglethorpe University Stormy Petrels Oglethorpe is in Atlanta which is a landlocked city. Petrels are strictly pelagic meaning they come to land only when breeding. Hmmm…
- Heidelberg College Student Princes OMG, there’s so much I could do with this, but it’s all so un-PC.
And, my all-time favorite nicknames/mascots:
- Sweet Briar College Vixens Sweet Briar is a women’s college. ‘Nuff said.
- Rhode Island School of Design Nads As in ‘Go Nads!’ Don’t believe me? First, click here to verify the school actual supports this. Then click here to read more about the history. Then click here for a picture of the mascot (‘Scrotie’) along with two t-shirts. Note that the basketball team is called the ‘Balls’ but seems to share its mascot with the hockey team.
There are a lot of other weird ones out there including a lot named for animals not indigenous to North America (Camels, Koalas, Kangaroos, etc.), ones involving odd juxtapositions (Battling Bishops, Praying Colonels, Demon Deacons, etc.), ones with distinctly artsy names (Poets, Chanticleers, Penmen, etc.), ones with dignified names (Judges, Presidents, Senators, Governors, etc.), ones with religious connotations (Maccabees, Deacons, Crusaders, Prophets, Spires, etc.), ones with D&D-like names (Dragons, Magicians, Paladins, etc.), ones named for machines (Boilermakers, Threshers, etc.) and, as I mentioned, plenty of colors.
Some schools have two or more official nicknames including the University of Virginia (Cavaliers and Wahoos), Virginia Tech (Gobblers and Hokies – the latter is actually a made up word with no meaning), and Georgia Tech (Yellow Jackets and Ramblin’ Wreck).
But nothing – and I mean nothing – beats the RISD Nads.