My brother-in-law graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport, Illinois, and my favorite part about this rather mundane fact is that the school's mascot is the Pretzel. The Freeport Pretzels. At sporting events the students liked to chant "You can eat us but you'll never beat us." Everything about that is awesome. It amuses me to no end.

On the other end of the state, in not-so-lovely Pekin, Illinois, the town high school was going for a different effect. Historically, the teams were known as the Pekin Chinks. The mascot was two students dressed up like, well, "chinamen" or whatever. Picture Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's and that's probably a good approximation of the extent to which this was offensive. Fortunately the school changed the mascot to the still-vaguely-Asian-but-less-offensive "Dragons" in 1980.

As someone who works in higher education I feel more strongly than most that athletics should be a minor aspect of a school's focus. That my current university defines itself so completely by its football team is, well, evidence of some rather misguided priorities from the top all the way down to the student body. Nonetheless, every school's mascot becomes part of the identity of the students and the alumni. If you graduate from Purdue, you will be a Boilermaker for life. As a Wisconsin B.A., I am not at all ashamed to be a Badger. It's not a common mascot. It's unique. It is readily associated with Wisconsin, both the state and the school.

Is there anything less interesting than Lions, Tigers, Bears, Eagles, and other such obvious choices? Put a little effort into it, people. At the college level, look at Campbell's Fighting Camels (mascot: Gaylord the Camel…the jokes practically write themselves), the LaSalle Explorers (anything named after a specific person is automatically neat), the Manhattan Jaspers (named after a popular early priest-administrator), the Loyola Ramblers, the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, or the WKU Hilltoppers. Those nicknames have some sort of local context and are unique to their school and region. And then, of course, we have the legion of joke mascots: the Fighting Artichokes, Banana Slugs, Anteaters, and the legendary Scrotie the Scrotum.

So, impress me with the awesomeness and obscurity of your high school or university mascots. Feel free to draw our attention to appropriately interesting or hilarious mascots from schools you have not attended as well. I'm sure there is some entertainment value to be had; bonus points if you are a Pretzel.

168 thoughts on “NPF: REPRESENTIN'”

  • Sadly in 2006 the student council voted for our mascot to be the Ravens, rather than the Headless Horsemen (or the much less interesting "Buccaneers").

    Ah well. We at least had fun making up cheers like "Let's go, Ravens! Give 'em the bird!"

  • My high school mascot was the "Normans." Of course, that referred to the folks who conquered England in 1066, but "Normans"? My university days were spent as one already named by you: I'm an 'Eater. ZOT!

  • This isn't very interesting, but my high school was in Dearborn, Michigan, hometown of Henry Ford and headquarters of Ford Motor Company. Consequently, our mascot was the Fordson Tractor. Parades and half-time events would always feature one of the classic models.

  • Another Anteater here.

    And in high school – a Terrier. What could POSSIBLY be more fearsome? "Grrrrr… Look out, we'll bite your ankles!"

  • I didn't go there, but I know a couple alums of Mississippi's Delta State U, who's mascot is the Fightin' Okra. As in, an okra fruit wearing boxing gloves. I don't own any merch from my own alma mater, but I'd buy a fighting okra shirt in a heartbeat.

    And let us not forget the best ever response to caricatured native American mascots: the University of Northern Colorado's Fighting Whities, whose t-shirt sales alone were able to endow a scholarship fund for minority students.

  • My parent's high school was the Trojans too, and as a kid I remember wondering why the spines on their yearbooks read '67 Trojans, '68 Trojans, 'MCMLXIX Trojans, and '70 Trojans. I hadn't realized the condom brand had been around that long.

  • My bachelors is from you school so you know it's good and fun, but relatively boring.

    High school we were the Bruins. I'm pretty pleased with that because it's fairly uncommon and interesting. Also, my high school no longer exists. I was one of the last. We were the only registered Bruins in the whole state of Alabama.

  • The Alices. A number of stories abound – something about the basketball team coming out of nowhere to win the state championship back in the day like Alice in Wonderland. Having read the books, this made no sense to me when I was in high school and makes less sense to me now.

    Moving on.

    Story 2 involves a novel written in the early 1900s – Alice of Old Vincennes. I've never read it, but the popular line at school is that Alice was a prostitute and thus our mascot was.. a prostitute. I just googled the book, though, and it sounds like Alice was actually kind of a badass and not a prostitute at all. I mean, I think she shoots someone.

    I've tried to find a picture of how "Alice" was manifested at Lincoln. I can't. Imagine, though, the purple McDonald's monster/thing only with green fur and wearing white gloves and an orange hat. Yeah – we intimidated our rivals.

  • My first year of school at University of Hawaii at Manoa, I was shocked to learn our team was "The Rainbow Warriors" which is pretty funny in a inadvertently super gay way.

  • My high school was associated (vaguely) with a college whose mascot was the Hawks. As a result, my school's mascot was the Hawklets. That's a baby hawk, I guess, but to me, it always sounded like the "Hawklettes" – which would be a cancan line of ladies wearing feathers. Fortunately, I guess, my school was very successful at sports, especially the all-important football, so opportunities for making fun were limited.

  • As a graduate of Indiana State University, University of Colorado Boulder, and Syracuse University, I can say (though mostly with indifference) that I have been a Sycamore,* a Buffalo, and an Orangeman. And my first boyfriend ended up being a Boilermaker at Purdue.

    I am relieved that thus far most of my higher ed teaching has been at graduate-only or post-grad institutions who have no sports teams and thus no need for mascots.

    * ISU was originally the "Fighting Teachers" back when it was Indiana Normal School. "Sycamores" may have originally been put on the list students were asked to vote on as a lark. During my parents' time there in the 60s, a favorite chant was allegedly "Eat 'em up, trees!" There was a duly racist "Indian chief" mascot for about 20 years but I'm pleased to say he was dumped in '89, early in the whole "uh hey can you please not be racist assholes, kthx The Actual First Americans" campaign.

  • The Big Ten has a lot of unique nicknames. Boilermakers, Hoosiers, Fighting Illini, Badgers, Golden Gophers, Wolverines, Nittany Lions, Hawkeyes, Buckeyes, the newly enshrined Cornhuskers. Spartans and Wildcats are not unique in division one NCAA sports.

    The SEC on the other hand, is is somewhat cookie-cutter: LSU and Auburn Tigers. Miss. St. and Georgia Bulldogs. Kentucky Wildcats. They do have the Gators, Cocks, Vols, Commodores, Rebels, Razorbacks, and Crimson Tide which are wholly unique.

  • My high school mascot was a King Salmon (or Chinook, for you non-Alaskans). Ketchikan, AK proclaims itself the "King Salmon Capitol of the World". Go go, Kayhi Kings!

    College was a hodge-podge of nicknames. My favorite was Monarchs from Old Dominion. At a time when their women's college basketball team was awesome, it was a fun place to be a fan of sport.

    Ed, did your student body do the "Eat Shit!" "Fuck You!" chant during games at Camp Randall? I only know of it due to my dad sending a letter to Barry Alvarez about how awful he felt for all the parents of children he was sitting with while hearing it.

  • What about colors? Lots of schools (weighted toward the hoity-toity) have colors as their official team name – Harvard Crimson, Stanford Cardinal (not the bird, the shade of red), Conrell Big Red. Syracuse Orangemen only counts if you don't know your protestant history. Being named after a color is cool. Being named after an abstract concept would be even cooler.

    I always thought my (home town) San Diego State Aztecs needed more obsidian knives, flayed skins, and step pyramids in their rooting traditions.

  • Forgot to mention Butte High School in Montana whose team is nicknamed the Pirates. The Butte Pirates. Wait, why are you all snickering like that?

  • U of Oklahoma grad.

    One fall semester I worked at the university bookstore. I was helping an exchange student find his books and he asked me about the meaning of our mascot name, the Sooners. I related the history of the land run and the people who snuck across the border early (the Sooners). He smiled and exclaimed, "You should call yourselves the Squatters!"

    I laughed. (It is funny! Why would you name your team after cheaters?) And then politely told him he may not want to repeat that joke as others probably wouldn't have a very good sense of humor about that.

  • Thunderbird and Falcon here, so nothing special. One of my favorites is the Centenary Gentlemen (Robert Parish's alma). In the Milwaukee area in the high school ranks we have the Purgolders (wtf?) and the Pius Popes, which makes the girls teams the, you guessed it, Lady Popes.

  • WIU Fighting Leathernecks.
    Named after the Marines, I believe.
    Fighting Leathernecks? Can't we all just get along?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Nothing radical.
    An Indian in HS.
    A Red Fox in College.

    Yes, the Indian was offensive. Hey, it was the early-mid 70's. PC was still years away.

  • Right next Freeport you've got the Prophetstown Prophets (and a public school no less), but the hands down win goes to small school IL basketball powerhouse the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes.

  • Also from the area there was the small college the Mount St. Clare Mounties, and the women's teams the Mount St. Clare Mounted Ladies.

  • Bobby Flashpants says:

    My newly adopted hometown boasts the LaGrange Grangers high school team. All I ever got to be was a Raider, then a UNCG Spartan.

  • As for joke mascots, you know about Keggy the Keg of Dartmouth, right? It was created while I was there. The administration should just give in. The number of t-shirts they sell would certainly be worth it, and half the student body seems like they're legacies anyway, so the parents know what their kids are getting into.

  • Nothing special: a Hurricane in HS (why a mascot after a natural disaster that regularly devastates the state, I don't know), then a Gator and Hoosier at uni. Now…nothing. European universities don't do mascots. Bummer.

    My favorite has got to be the Evergreen State College Geoducks. Not only does it have nothing to do with waterfowl, it's a giant, alien-looking Pacific clam, and the school's Latin motto translates to "let it all hang out." Win!

  • My high school's mascot was the rather uncreative Stallion – Stanley the Stallion, to be precise. In and of itself, not all that creative. But during my time there, the mascot costume that some poor schmuck had to dress up in and prance around the field featured these round, giant, protruding, terrified eyes. So our mascot looked like a horse who walked as a man, who had woken up and found himself in one of the Saw movies.

  • My HS w mascot was "The Purple Pounders" showing an arm striking an anvil with a hammer. I often wondered why we just didn't call ourselves "The Blacksmiths"

  • The Byurokrat says:

    I went to one of many Lincoln High Schools in Michigan. However, only my school strangely concluded that our nickname should be "The Abes." Our mascot (a foam-ish Abe Lincoln) didn't look too dissimilar from Scrotie.

  • In Utah there are high schools whose mascots are the Soaring Eagles (weirdly specific) and thw Soaring Eagle. Singular. The latter was the school I attended; near as I can tell, the administrators really likes Soaring Eagles and had no interest in rethinking the mascot just because it was taken.

    I think the worst mascot I ever heard was when I went to a debate meet in Southern California, and one of the other schools/mascots was, I shit you not, the Compton Tarbabies. Not sure how that one survived into the new milennium but it gave us white kids from Utah a WTF moment.

  • As a non-American, I have always been intrigued with your strange obsession with mascots for school and university. Love the stories, myths and college movie pranks, but it's still odd… I'm only familiar with mascots for professional sports or, more commonly, no mascot at all. It's interesting how English speakers can have such cultural differences.

  • I went to Beavercreek HS in Ohio. The home of the Battlin' Beavers. And each week a girl and boy would be named the Beaver Achiever of the Week.

  • Slightly off topic, but this brings to mind a football game I attended where the visiting UConn Huskies were destroying Yale. I'll never forget the home team's cheer:
    "That's alright, that's okay.
    You're gonna to work for us some day."

  • My high school's official mascot was the Rough Rider, a guy riding a horse, but our unofficial and much more popular mascot was the Fighting Tuna, from which our school newspaper's name, The Tuna Talk, was derived. There was no rough rider costume anyone wore to sporting events, but there was definitely a tuna suit.

    At the end of each year, a new junior about to become a senior would be inducted into the Fighting Order of the Tuna by last recipient, essentially being knighted with a stick that looked like a tuna fin. I don't remember what the qualifications were, but I thought it was a pretty awesome thing to have anyway.

  • mining city guy says:

    FMguru claims that the mascot for Butte High School in Butte, Montana is the Pirate.This is incorrect. The mascot is the Bulldog. Maybe FMguru was just trying to be funny, thinking that Butte is pronounced as butt. It is not. Butte rhymes with mute or cute

  • My high school mascot – well we didn't really have a mascot but we called ourselves the Blazers. No, not the jacket. I still don't really know what a Blazer is. I think it had something vaguely to do with fire.

    As for college, I was a Golden Gopher.

  • [q]Butte rhymes with mute or cute[/q]

    Sure, and Boehner is not pronounced 'Boner'. You keep pretending words don't read as they do, and … something something.


  • My university's mascot was the Saluki. A Saluki is an Egyptian hunting dog. Everything in Southern Illinois is Egyptian themed. Memphis and Cairo (pronounced kay-row)are both named after Egyptian cities. The area is known as Little Egypt.

  • Matthew Poirier says:

    Well, I was a Trojan in high school. That was ripe for humour for about a month or so. I had to look up my University's mascot, and apparently it's a Coyote named Wesley. So that's pretty awesome.

  • We had the "Black Squirrels," since they lived on campus. But the general joke for our not-very-athletic Quaker school was that the teams should be the Fightin' Quakers, with the cheer "fight fight inner light kill Quakers kill!"

    You know, since we were pacifists.

    They canceled football in the '60s because not enough people showed up for the team. We had good showings in soccer, track, and cricket, though. #1 NCAA varsity cricket team. (OK, only varsity cricket team).

  • In high school our mascot was the Maroons, which until now I had not questioned the origin of… after a quick search I find that Maroons were runaway slaves… not quite sure how a very small high school in SW VA got the mascot of Maroons…

    The college team that I root for is the Virginia Tech Hokies, which has the mascot of a turkey… Hokie is a made up mascot, from the "Old Hokie Cheer".


  • Brandon University Bobcats (Manitoba). Sadly the mascot is named "Bailly", which isn't likely to instill much fear in the opposition.

  • In high school we were the Capers (Cape Elizabeth, ME). Not very inspired, but, so far as I know, unique in the state, and possibly all of New England.

    I went to Hampshire College for undergrad, which didn't boast much in the way of organized athletics. The "official" school mascot is the Frog (in honor of all the frogs what were slaughtered constructing the campus partially on a filled-in swamp in the late 60s), though I don't know if any of the sports teams used it. I do know our Ultimate Frisbee team (yeah, we were just giving in the the stereotype) was called the Red Menace for a time.

    Of course, Hampshire is in Amherst, MA, home of the UMass Minutemen and the Amherst College Lord Jeffs.

  • High School Wildcats, an animal native to the region, the lower end of the San Joaquin Valley in California. The town was football-crazy (actually chronicled in "The Best of Times," with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell) and the high school motto "(something) felix (something)," which instead of the usual "Let there be light" or "Truth and Knowledge" of some such, was actually someone's attempt at a Latin version of "The Wildcat Scratches." Wish I could remember the actual Latin, it would give you classical buffs a hoot.

  • At Oberlin College, we were The Yeomen. A yeoman is a landowning farmer below the rank of gentry or a freeholder who is not part of the nobility – certainly something y'all don't wanna step to. Delightfully, the women's teams were known to dub themselves the Yeomamas.

    Not long ago the Yeomen football team had the distinction of being the worst in the entire country. I was in my first or second year there when they finally snapped their 40-game losing streak. I think they've improved markedly since then.

  • I went to Franklin & Marshall College. Officially, the "Diplomats" or "Dips," which is kind of uninspiring, but they do have two students dressed up as Ben and John as mascots. Since the school is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the unofficial team name is the "Fighting Amish." While I was there the lacrosse team made T-shirts with the Notre Dame leprechaun re-purposed with an Amish beard and hat. Now THAT was awesome.

  • In high school, we were the 'lightning'. A little abstract, but points for uniqueness.

    Since then: undergrad was golden gophers, and am currently a badger. To the commenter asking about the vulgar cheers: Yes, they are still going strong!

  • At Washington State University we are the Cougars (or Cooooooogs)… we still have some of the big cats living out here, occasionally one will eat somebody's dog or a mountain biker.

    Anyway, every spring is Mom's weekend, though the signage around town often reads “Welcome Cougar Moms!” And yes, that is what happens. I lived on one end of Greek Row, and every Mom's Weekend the whole hill would be filled with badly parked SUV's and the sounds of former sorority girls reliving the good old days, partying it up.

    Dad's weekend was generally not quite so traumatic.

  • a neighboring high school to my alma mater in new york (the harrison high huskies…boring) were the Rye Garnets. their mascot was a big ass rock.

    there was also a catholic all girl prep school whose mascot was the Koalas which is adorable.

    in indiana there are the Speedway High School Sparkplugs (sparky!) and the Martinsville Artesians. why the fuck would your mascot be a well? at first i thought it was "artisans" and then i remembered that no one in martinsville knows what art is.

    the high school i teach at is the Whiteland Warriors (racist indian head). for the rare double whammy.

  • Worked for a semester (long story) at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Best mascot ever: The Fighting Squirrels. It was a women's (girl's) school and not sure what they did besides ride horses. Perhaps field hockey. Didn't stick around long enough to find out. But do love the image of fighting squirrels.

  • In highschool I was a Ranger. Always liked that as its fairly unusual and aggressive.

    For undergrad we had Louis the Laker. So, unique too.

  • The mascot of my northern Wisconsin high school was the Midgets, also known as the Fighting Midgets. The girl's teams were the Midgettes.

    Not too far away was the town of Watersmeet, Michigan. Watersmeet was the home of the Nimrods. The Nimrods achieved some small notoriety from an ESPN marketing campaign.

    I played in a baseball game between the two schools – the Midgets vs the Nimrods!

  • Willamette University: our footballers were Bearcats. Not the kind made by Stutz. The only vaguely animal representation was a paw print. No idea. But my sport was fencing, and no one I knew, or had even heard of, attended football games.

  • A Babe of the Boom says:

    High school mascot was a Titan. That's right, a god!

    Of course it was cartoonified with someone walking around in a "Greek costume", a la Agamemnon, with a large Papier-mâché head.

  • Over 60 comments and I don't think anybody's pointed out the Evergreen State College Geoducks. Geoducks are one of nature's most comically over-the-top phallic symbols, pretty much just a very very long fleshy dildo protruding from a giant clamshell. I went to Evergreen briefly a very long time ago but I really didn't notice if there was actually a sports team in there somewhere. I believe there was a song, though.

  • The St. Xavier Cougars, a name adopted when the school switched from being women only in the 60s. While in itself boring I always suspected the nuns thought it had a nice ring to it without recognizing its proximity to Xavier Cougat, Charo's husband and bandleader. Which is amusing because Charo was pretty much the antithesis of a nun

  • I got nothin' since I went to HS in the Far East (UK style 'O' and 'A' Levels) and then art school as an undergrad but my mother-in-law went to HS in Fort Collins CO where the football team was and still is called The Lambkins; among her HS memorabilia was a pair of adorable plush lambs in the school colors (don't remember what). Apparently they had to live up to their unaggressive moniker by being a really good team.

  • EmilytheFireTruck says:

    My Mom is from Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, and their mascot was a BLOSSOM. (Although now, I think they call themselves the "Awesome Blossoms" to provide what they believe is a modicum of ferociousness.)

    That's right, the Blooming Prairie Blossoms. Friggin flowers. You've got to see the mascot. It kind of looks like an angry onion or tulip bulb with flowery petals attached to its back:

  • I graduated from the City College of New York, where our mascot was a Beaver. Yes, we were the Beavers. There was even a big bronze of the beaver on campus.
    The mascot for the high school that I graduated from, Brooklyn Technical HS, was the "Engineer". Nothing says excitement like "Engineer".

  • They do have the Gators, Cocks, Vols, Commodores, Rebels, Razorbacks, and Crimson Tide which are wholly unique.

    This always reminds me of Clueless.

  • My personal fave come from two Colorado high schools: the Brush Beatdiggers and the Rocky Ford Meloneers. I love meloneers because it makes harvesting canteloupe sound adventurous.

  • Yes, Vinny, we the Yellow Jackets (and mostly engineers) of Georgia Tech know about excitement.

    We're a bunch of damn bugs that dine on rotting flesh right next to the maggots.

    Ain't that inspirin'?


  • I went to a tiny (800 students) liberal arts college called Centenary in Louisiana, and our mascot was the Gents. As in, the Gentlemen. And the women were the Ladies. During my time there, there was some concern that such a mascot was both racist and sexist, and thus began a semester long clusterfuck of choosing a new mascot. We eventually came out with the Catahoulas (Louisiana's state dog) as our mascot, with the Gents remaining as our symbol? Or something like that?

  • Our high school sports teams were named the 'Sir Bills'. The town is named after a guy who was a baron in the colonial days in NY . His name was Sir William Johnson. The mascot wears an old colonial military type outfit with a tri-cornered hat.

  • My wife went to Stuyvesant HS in NYC. While she was there, the teams were the "Peglegs." Not pirates, mind you — just an unfortunate reference to Peter Stuyvesant. But I just learned from wikipedia that it's even more complicated now:

    Unlike most American high schools, most sports teams at Stuyvesant have their own name. Only the Football and boy's Lacrosse teams retain the traditional Pegleg moniker, other teams have their own unique names, such as the Runnin' Rebels (boys' Basketball), Vixens (girls' Volleyball), Lemurs (boys' Gymnastics), Phoenix (girls' Basketball), Renegades (girls' Softball), Felines (girls' Gymnastics), Hookers (boys' Bowling), Pinheads (girls' Bowling), Huskies (girls' Lacrosse), Penguins (girls' Swimming), Pirates (boys' Swimming), Ballers (boys' Soccer), Mimbas (girls' Soccer), The Furies (girls' Handball), Dragons (boys' Handball), Smokin' Aces (boys' Tennis), Sticky Fingers (boys' and girls' Ultimate), Lobsters (girls' Tennis), Hitmen (Baseball), Untouchables (boys' and girls' Fencing) Flying Dutchmen (Hockey), Tigers (Cricket) and Spartans (Wrestling and Roller Hockey).[55] These names tend to change with time.

  • I went to a high school where the mascot was the Warrior, represented with a giant-nosed Native American caricature. Anyway, a local Native American beseeched our student government to change the mascot. At the time, I was a libertarian idiot completely blind to my own white male privilege, so I sarcastically suggested a replacement mascot that I actually still think would be pretty great: The Salty Crackers. I even had a friend draw up a mock mascot costume featuring a large Saltine carrying a spear. We're still the Warriors unfortunately.

  • I attended middle school on a military base, where our mascot was the Minuteman – technically the early American militiaman, but also the name of one of the missiles they shot off from the base.

    In high school, our mascot was the less interesting but locally relevant Conquistador; our cross-town rivals were the Braves.

    And I still don't get why Stanford is the Cardinal (the color) but their mascot is a tree.

  • Go Scottsdale Community College Artichokes! Best. Mascot. Ever. I live in Arizona now, and took a class there a few years ago. I go to the bookstore to get my materials and I laughed for a good five minutes after seeing the shirts, etc. I had no idea that was their mascot. I think it's hilariously awesome. Go

  • My daughter just entered the Evergreen State College. At the President's Breakfast during orientation week, he introduced us to the Geoduck Fight Song (words and music by Malcolm Stilson, 1971):

    The Geoduck Fight Song
    words and music by Malcolm Stilson, 1971

    Go, Geoducks go,
    Through the mud and the sand,
    let's go.
    Siphon high, squirt it out,
    swivel all about,
    let it all hang out.

    Go, Geoducks go,
    Stretch your necks when the tide
    is low
    Siphon high, squirt it out,
    swivel all about,
    let it all hang out.

  • I'm a Wolverine/Tar Heel/Hoya. Tar Heels and Hoyas are unique, but are confusing to most. I'm still not really sure WTF a Hoya is . . .

    My wife is a Badger/Blue Devil. It is a fine time to be a Badger, because they get to bask in the reflected glory of the honey badger, and their lack of caring or giving a shit about eating nasty ass cobras.

  • Where I grew up we didn't have Little League; we had Dixie League. The logo was the stars & bars with baseballs instead of stars. The Dixie League still exists, but they've changed the logo to something less wildly offensive.

    Coincidentally, I don't recall a single black player on any of the Dixie League teams I played on or against.

    My alma mater's team is the Maroons, which is kind of funny if you grew up on Looney Tunes like I did.

  • Given Ed's Cold War interests, I should have also mentioned the Richland Bombers: The city is located near Hanford, where the U.S. manufactured plutonium, including for the bomb used on Nagasaki ("Fat Man").

    "In later years, the nuclear cloud and phrase "Nuke 'Em," among others, became the unofficial mascots for the school. The official mascot is still a B-17 bomber called "A Day's Pay." In 1988, amidst visits by Tom Brokaw (NBC Nightly News) and Japanese delegates, a vote was taken by the students making the Bomb (with the Mushroom Cloud logo) the official mascot of Richland High School."

  • having been a "Tiger" since high school, at least Mizzou has an interesting reason for being named the Tigers (per Wikipedia): "The name comes from a band of armed guards called the Missouri Tigers who, in 1864, protected Columbia from Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War."

  • There is nothing remarkable about the Demons as a mascot, except for the religious fundamentalist whackjob secretaries working in the school office who complained about the evil presence of the cartoon Demon on the wall gazing down upon them as they typed, shuffled and stapled their way through M-F secular society.

    To be clear, I have the greates respect for secretaries! Not so much for religious fundamentalist whackjobs.

  • My High School team mascot is a Buck. We voted for the girls team mascot when I was in HS and went with the Gazelles. Over time the boys mascot has come to be a male deer rather than the native warrior that was the original mascot.

    My undergraduate college mascot was a Hardrocker — the actual mascot looks like a 19th century hardrock miner and is named Grubby

  • In high school we were the Spartans. We had the Marching Phalanx Band. Seemed appropriate given Nashville is the Athens of the South. In college we were the Rebels, completely appropriate given our Southern Baptist overlords and student makeup and mindfulness. Later they changed to the Bruins, which I had to look up. Bruins aren't even indigenous to the region.

  • We got spirit, how 'bout you? says:

    The tiny Indiana town where I grew up (Ladoga, pop. 1,100 — salute!) used to have a canning factory that processed canned fruit and vegetables. It had been shut down long before I got to grade school, but my elementary mascot was still … The Canners. And the mascot itself? A can. A petulant, pissy-looking can.

    Things improved once I made it to high school, your basic generic, prison-looking, consolidated-circa-1971 hell house. All the tiny rural towns in the county bused their school age children there, once they had torn down or converted their local high schools to elementary schools (like Ladoga had). My mascot? Mounties. In west central Indiana.

    By the time I got there, any Mountie mascot/image was purely graphic (think: Dudley Doo-right "spirit" T-shirts). But my older sisters had enjoyed (in the early to to mid-'80s) an actual mounted, uniformed mascot at football games, etc., sometimes involving a giant papier-m

  • We got spirit, how 'bout you? says:

    *a giant papier-mache head, like a big Nixon head you might have seen at some protest in the '70s.

  • My high school mascot was fairly boring (although not yet represented on this thread, I think): the Dukes. The mascot involved a very big hat with a feather and an even bigger mustache, for some reason. Sadly, the women's teams were the Lady Dukes, not the Duchesses.

    For college I had one of those lovely what-do-we-do-now-that-we-can't-be-racist? mishmashes. We were the Indians until the '70s, and then we became the Tribe (just any general kind of tribe! Like a community! Not a Native American tribe AT ALL), with two feathers in our logo. There was no official mascot during the Tribe-with-feather years, but the unofficial student mascot was Colonel Ebirt (yes, tribe spelled backwards), which was basically a green and yellow amorphous blob.

    Then a couple years ago the NCAA told us we had to lose the feathers because they were offensive, but we could remain the Tribe. So they had a campus-wide search committee to find us a new mascot…which is now the Griffin. But we kept the Tribe thing, so our teams are called the Tribe, but our mascot is the Griffin. Makes no damn sense whatsoever to me. Go W&M!

  • My college mascot in northern California was the Humboldt State Lumberjacks, which never did -probably still doesn't – sat well with the hippies and tree huggers that the region's abundant marijuana crop attracted.

  • Now that I know you're a Badger I have to say Seawolves as a hockey-fuck-you. Even though it's not that awesome a mascot and the new one design sucks.

    I think the Long Beach State Dirtbags is a cool one even though that's not their real mascot.

  • I moved a couple times as a teen, but graduated from high school in Hagerstown, MD, which has a North HS and a South HS; I graduated from South. The North were the Hubs (for reasons that escape me Hagerstown is called the "Hub City"), but their actual mascot was a Hessian mercenary. We, on the other hand, were the Rebels. Not especially original, but the Lt. Governor did come calling my junior year to make the administration remove the Confederate battle flag from our logo. Winners all around.

    For the record, I'm now in grad school, and while I can't remember what a "Hoya" is, it is an improvement.

  • Once upon a time in Rochester NY there was an East High and a West High. Their mascots were the Orientals and the Occidentals. Then West High was renamed Wilson High (after the Xerox founder, not the president) and their mascot was changed to the Wildcats. East was left holding the bag. To this day they are still the Orientals, although the physical mascot is an eagle.

  • I'm sorry to be a little off-topic in my first-ever comment here, but I have to mention my favorite school cheer. Austin Peay University ("The Governors") — their men's basketball team made the NCAA tournament a few years ago, so on TV I saw their supporters section chanting "Let's go Peay!"

  • Down in southern Illinois is the most fun-to-say mascot in the world: the Cobden Appleknockers. Elsewhere in Illinois, prior to a district merger and ensuing mascot revision, Monmouth High School had the Zippers, yielding the popular counter-cheer "Down with the Zippers!" A few miles down the road, Knox College once had the Siwash, which was a fictional Indian tribe but bothered enough people that they changed it in 1993 to… the Prairie Fire. Which are, you know, major destructive forces, but it still always struck me as feeble-sounding.

    I've now moved to Virginia, where we have the Hokies (originally a nonsense word, now claimed by several different Tech graduates to refer to a castrated turkey, of all things). The school I'm at now, Longwood (a great name to start with), has had a team name for a while, the Lancers (a long wood, get it?), and just recently named their mascot Elwood. I'm… amused.

  • I love being a duck. Quack. University of Oregon, in case y'all didn't know.

    Seriously, we play the Big, Tough Mascots in football with our mascot that was obviously intended to be offbeat and mock the blustery names everyone else insists on like Wildcats or Trojans or Cougars. And we beat them.


  • I was a University of Portland Pilot. Not like an airliner pilot, but a riverboat one. The mascot suit hadn't been updated since the sixties, I think, so it was hilariously cartoony in a sort of dream-about-dying-in-an-amusement-park sort of way.

    In elementary school, I was a unicorn. Seriously. Uinta Unicorns. This is what happens when the nineties are allowed to choose your school mascot. At least none of the girls had to ditch their Lisa Frank binders, which is a plus I guess?

  • greennotGreen says:

    Hello Fred Ashby, 'nother Purple Pounder here! Though my favorite decal back in the day was of a grizzled football player running along, carrying a hammer and anvil.

  • I am a University of Toledo Rocket.

    My son graduated from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. While he was attending there, they had a contest to name their fledgling hockey team. I am bursting with paternal pride as I tell you his submission was the "Lawrence Whelks."

    Alas, they opted for "Blue Devils."


  • My high school team was the Otters. Not so fearsome, but what else are you going to use for a town that sits on the Otter Tail River, and I always got a kick out of it when we played Wahpeton, ND. They were the Wops. Seriously. You know you're in the deepest cornfed heart of the Midwest when you can accidentally name your team an ethnic slur and no one even notices. I remember pep fest signs that read, "What's a Wop?" Well, kids, we don't have any around here… Sadly, they have since changed their name to the Huskies, which is not nearly as funny.

  • HS in Elkhart Lake, WI: the Resorters. As in loafing tourists. At least an elk was our unofficial mascot.

    Also a Badger, a Nittany Lion & a Buffalo, though I wish all three football teams would be demoted to club status.

  • Since someone has already addressed the Sooners (although I didn't attend OU, my mom did and my dad claims them as his own, as do many non-graduates in OK), I'm going to throw in my undergrad for interesting mascots. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) – the Drovers. A fancy name for cowboy, but entertaining considering it was a women's college (OCW) until the 1970s.

  • @Sam Erino: trying to use my student tix one of these weekends but the whole having kids and living in Palmer thing is making it hard.

  • Brandeis University's teams are called, unsurprisingly, the Judges. Their mascot is an owl called Ollie (after Oliver Wendel Holmes). It all seems very obscure, but very appropriate.

  • Maize and Blue/ Carleton Knights. Yay. Our sports program exists as an ironic comment on the despair of physically-challenged but intellectually resplendent Nerds everywhere.

  • At SFSU we are The Gators. You're probably saying to yourself "Alligators in San Francisco?" Nope, Golden Gate Bridge. Someone's too clever by half.

  • @jjack- living there can make it rough getting in; especially with kids. I read this site daily (numerous times); let me know here if you're coming in for a game. I'll buy you a pretzel or something while the Seawolves fail to put shots on net and give up easy goals.

  • Well, HS was the Mustangs. Not so bad, right? Except for the fact that we were located on the EAST COAST, nowhere near any actual feral horse herds or any of their western habitat. Needless to say, I was probably the only person BOTHERED by that total lack of geographical appropriateness. (For the record, I am also thoroughly irritated by the fact that a brand of wintergreen-flavored gum is called "Alpine Mint", because, as we all know, the wintergreen plant is native to the Americas, and has nothing to do with the Alps, which are located in Europe, so why the hell did they name – OH, NEVER MIND.)

    As for college – see Aaron Weber's post above re Black Squirrels. We're apparently alums of the same college.

  • I would like to see a game between the Ragin' Cajuns, and Fighting Irish.

    Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Golden Gaels. The Kingston Aces is the town's minor league hockey franchise. They play in the Ontario Hockey Association's Eastern Ontario Senior Hockey League. Their rink had chain link instead of plexiglass boards, and one end of the rink had a big Canadian flag and the other an equally large Ontario provincial flag flanked by big paintings of the Queen and Prince Philip, (in younger days, years ago, probably exact when painted). Distinct from French Canada seemed to be the theme.

    Finally, the Trojans and the Spartans. Each lost their war. Why go with losers?

  • @Jack I was a Trojan, which, frankly, was kind of lame. We had fun beating Fordson every year though. But at least, from college, I can say I'm a Rocket although, if Tuesday was any indicator, apparently Rockets have no defense.

  • My highschool was the Kelly Road Roadrunners. We used the Roadrunner you all know and love as our mascot. How we didn't get sued for that, I will never know.

    My University was the Yeoman, until it changed to the Lions because no one knew what a Yeoman was. (Actually, because the womens' teams were the Yeowomen, and everyone thought that was stupid.)

  • Went to Lehigh which used to be the Engineers. I loved that. It was a bit linear, Lehigh being a top engineering school (as well as being such a top party party school that Playboy actually disqualified it from consideration in their rankings at one point… when you have a fusion of brains and beer…), Lehigh Engineers fit. Plus, how many animal names can you have?

    Oh wait…

    They changed it after I left to something entirely unorginal… Warhawks, I think or Battle Chickens or Turret Turkeys…

  • The sports teams at my institution are the Saint Louis University Billikens. The Billiken was basically an early 20th century Hello Kitty, plastered on everything from piggy banks to, well, everything. The nickname owes itself to one of the school's football coaches, whose (ahem) unconventional looks prompted some writer to nickname the team 'Bender's Billikens.'

    Anyways, it's a great mascot. However, it also required a design transition from its obviously racist roots. You see, the original Billiken is kind of an impish creature, but one with definite far east 'characteristics.' Today it resembles less a bigoted-grotesque of the imagination than a genial space creature. That said, the local Jesuit high school still retains the original mascot. Here's a link to see what I mean:

    Anyways, another fun fact about SLU is that David Cross once performed a show here and a ton of our self-righteous, dickish undergrads made a big deal about walking out. Cross mentions it in many interviews, as well as in his open letter to Larry the Cable guy. I retain a weird, embarrassed pride about that.

  • Two amusing ones I'm aware of:

    Frankfort, IN, home of the Frankfort Hot Dogs.

    Hoopeston, IL, home of the Hoopeston Cornjerkers. And of course what else could you call the women's teams but…. The Lady Jerkers.

  • In tiny Fisher, IL (about thirty miles from Urbana/Champaign) the local high school team is the Fisher Bunnies.

  • @Mackeyser: yes, it should be…but it isn't.

    my california high school still retains its inappropriate "native-american themed" mascot. sigh.

  • I've been an Indian, a Warrior, a Rock (oh yeah, the…Rocks), an Illini (in name only: Go Hawkeyes.), a Brave, and a Viking. The Viking works (it's a Lutheran school with boatloads of Scandinavian alums). Three Native American…well, we have a lot of Native American History, I s'pose. But the Rocks? Always thought that was right weak.

  • went to high school In Emmaus Pennsylvania, and had he unusual mascot of the Green Hornets, which I believe was influenced by the comic book, although when I was attending the TV show with Bruce Lee was popular. Instead of a masked crime fighter we had a belligerent green and gold bug our mascot.

  • @ignatov What, seriously? Another Chickasha person? I went to USAO and my partner graduated from CHS. I like his story of the transition "Fightin' Cocks" to the more, um, acceptable "Chicks".

  • Proud Leatherneck says:

    Illinois has to be the home to the weirdest mascots, Corn jerkers, pretzels, wooden shoes, Hubs, and the Western lllinois University Fighting Leathernecks which was given the privilege of using that name from the Marine Corp, although the mascot is actually a bulldog named Rocky. The women's teams however are, (or at least were 15-20 years ago, not sure if that's changed) the Westerwinds. The town that WIU is based, Macomb, their high school nickname is the Bombers, because, I believe they use to actually manufacture bombs at one of the town's factories.

  • HS: Trojan. Boring, but my marching band liked to joke that we were the Tri-Central Marching Rubber Band.

    Uni: Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers! We also had a "you will work for us someday" chant, especially when we played the local D-III liberal arts schools.

    As for favorite mascots, there are a few great ones in Indiana. Glad to see someone already mentioned the Martinsville Artesians & the Speedway Sparkplugs. Here's a few others I like from the Hoosier State:

    Frankfort Hot Dogs. Their mascot is a mean looking wiener dog. [Other interesting tidbit – the Frankfort HS gym is the gym used to film the home games for the "Western University Dolphins" in the movie 'Blue Chips']

    Broadripple Rockets. Not super unique but….

    Northwest Space Pioneers. I worked a short stint at an Indianapolis sports/talk radio station doing the score updates and running the board on Saturday mornings. I once had to report a score between the Space Pioneers and the Rockets. Don't know if either team has ever played the South Central Satellites from Union Mills, IN…

    Logansport Berries. Get it? Loganberries?

    There's plenty of other interesting Indiana H.S. mascots but I didn't want to completely take this all up, so I'll just drop a link.

  • Nobody's mentioned might Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington. Mascot: the Fighting Missionaries.

    Students chant at games: "Missionaries, missionaries, we're on top!"

    The administration has been trying to get them to stop for decades now.

  • Cocke County High School (in east Tennessee) has the Fighting Cocks as a mascot. I assume they meant a rooster here. Nearby Morristown Hamblen High School West has the Trojans for a mascot. So every year the Fighting Cocks take on the Trojans. You can imagine the fun the high school kids have with that.

  • Don't think it's been mentioned yet that teams at the small, private Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee are known as the Webb Feet.

  • My wife teaches English at San Francisco City College, whose nickname, the "Rams," wins no great distinction. But the women's teams are the "Lady Rams" and that raises a few eyebrows, even in San Francisco. SFCC, by the way, is OJ Simpson's alma mater, and takes pride in having the biggest and baddest teams in junior-college football. They actually recruit overseas, and pay their coach over 200k, and . . . haven't given a raise to their English teachers in almost ten years.

  • Alumnus of the home of the Holy Cross Crusaders….wonderfully politically incorrect.

    I now teach at Dartmouth (MA) HS…home of the Indians.

  • I guess I'm the third Black Squirrel in here. I'm pretty sure I was in the same class as Aaron, and maybe a year ahead of Ellie?

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers!

    e to the x, dy/dx, e to the x dx
    cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
    three point one four one five nine
    square root, cube root, log of pi,
    dis-integrate them RPI!

  • I want to follow up on Jessica's comment above – the Alices. The Colts starting QB Curtis Painter was an Alice in high school. Do you think he shares that openly in any NFL locker room?

  • A school in Topeka are the Seamen. You can imagine the chants high schoolers come up with.

    Washburn University Ichabods

    Field Kindley Memorial High School in Coffeyville, KS are the Golden Tornado

  • OK, I just have to chime in one more time here in response to Aaron Weber and Tim. How the heck did we get THREE Black Squirrels out of 150 or so posters? From a school that produces around 300 alum a year? (BTW Tim, I'm sorry to say I'm quite a few years older than both of you!)

    Ed, you are clearly doing something that attracts Black Squirrels!

  • Fighting Missionary here from Whitman College. There's actually a debate happening in the school newspaper as to whether or not we should change the mascot to something more PC, but I suspect most like the absurdity of the mascot.

    I was also a Nevada Union Miner in high school, which is pretty decent. Miner Magic!

  • THe school where my father taught for many years, now called Missouri University of Science and Technology, was originally called the Missouri School of Mines, and still has a Miner–actually a propsector, complete with burro, as the mascot. (There's one at the bottom of that page as well, complete with pickaxe AND sliderule.)

    They have an extra-special set of teams that few others can boast of–the mucking teams, who meet with teams from like-minded schools such as Montana Tech and do old-school mining things.

  • My high schools were boring Panthers and Cougers, but in our area (southern Indiana) were the Martinsville Artesians, the Eminence Eels, and the Shoals Jug Rox. Martinsville once had a number of health spas, and the Jug Rock is a large table rock formation. I don't know about the Eels; Eminence isn't near any rivers.

  • electricgrendel says:

    My high school was the Vikings, which I always thought was pretty awesome. I got my BA from Vanderbilt, so we were the Commodores. It always got shortened to 'Dores, which lead to hilarity a couple of times. There was the suggestive group names of the Open Dores and the Swinging Dores. I am finishing an associates in nursing at a local community college whose mascot is the Riverbats. Austin is home to the world's largest urban bat population (random, huh?). So ACC chose the Riverbat as its mascot.

  • Proud Leatherneck says:

    I almost forgot, my Mother attended Argo Community high school in IL. They were of course the argonauts. What actually makes it interesting, is that the school is located in Summit, Il a suburb of Chicago. There is no town named Argo, though the area is occasionally referred to as Summit-Argo. The high school gets its name from a company in town, which makes Argo corn starch.

  • Late to the party, but…

    Pomona College (Claremont, CA) has Cecil the Sagehen. Not bad, but the fight song clinches it:

    Our foes are filled with dread
    Whenever Cecil Sagehen flies overhead

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    And I still don't get why Stanford is the Cardinal (the color) but their mascot is a tree.

    The Cardinal (aka the lamest name in major college sports) is a pathetic attempt to emulate Harvard and The Crimson. The tree comes from the central image in the university's seal.

    When I went to Stanford, we held a referendum on the team name. The winner was Robber Barons, a tribute to founder Leland Stanford, one of the original railroad robber barons. For some reason, the administration wouldn't go along.

  • Latemto the game I know, but here in Winston-Salem, NC, we have the University of North Carolina School of the Arts' Fighting Pickles. There are no actual sports teams, other than intramural flag football, apparently. And down the road in Greensboro, Grimsley High School is the home of the Grimsley Whirlies, whose mascot appears to be some kind of tornado.

  • Hello, Neat post. There's an issue together with your website in web explorer, might test this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a big portion of folks will omit your fantastic writing due to this problem.

Comments are closed.