Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Recently, I was scanning a list of college team nicknames, and I'm astounded by their originality. We certainly have many predictable ones like Wolves, Wildcats, Bears, Tigers, Spartans, etc.

But some of the others are entertaining. For example, consider the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savages, the alma mater of controversial basketball and movie star, Dennis Rodman.

The teams of Nova Southeastern University of Fort Lauderdale, FL. are called the Sharks. I don't know the reputation of their law school, but I'm sure their graduates inspire fear and respect.

Bethany College is called the Swedes. Then there is the Norse of Northern Kentucky University. If they play the Flying Dutchmen of Hofstra University or the Saxons of Alfred College, they can re-create the Thirty Years' War. You probably don't want to invite the Idaho Vandals to visit your facility.

Do the teams at the Haverford College Fords get new cars from their alumni boosters? I checked, but there is no team called the Chevies or the Plymouths. However, there are the Lancers of South Carolina Lancaster, and even the Richmond Spiders, who once upset the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA basketball tournament. Chicagoans remember the Loyola Ramblers, who rolled to the 1963 NCAA Championship in basketball.

In football, every coach wants some big and fast players. You might support the Tufts University Jumbos, or the Pittsburg State (KS) Gorillas, but the College of Insurance (NY) Turtles would probably not impress them. Even extinct animals have their followers, like the Mastodons of IUPUFW (Indiana U. Purdue U. Fort Wayne). Some other exotic animals include the Cal-Irvine Anteaters, the Cal. Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, Virginia Tech Gobblers, Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos (their law school probably has Kangaroo moot court), Connecticut College Camels (their power walking team would walk a mile for a Camel), Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, Bryant and Stratton College (OH) Lemmings (I'd be concerned about their leadership courses) , and the Oregon Tech Hustlin' Owls (I'm sure you can come up with some Hooters' jokes).

Many colleges were founded by religious organizations, and some of the names reflect that. For example the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops, the Yeshiva University Maccabees, the St. Joseph College (ME) Monks, the Oklahoma Baptist Prophets, and the Earlham College (IN) Hustlin' Quakers.

If the coach is seeking an easier opponent, consider the Amherst College Lord Jeffs. You wouldn't expect the home of Emily Dickenson to have a fearsome name. Then there is the Illinois College Blue Boys, which aptly describes the University of Illinois football team in recent years, but that's a different school. Or perhaps the Heidelberg College (OH) Student Princes or the Wayland Baptist (TX) Flying Queens. Actually, that last one is the name of the women's basketball team only.

If you're wondering about Slippery Rock College (PA), their teams are The Rock, which will sit well with fans of the Flintstones.




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