10 Goofy College Team Names

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A Brief History

On May 4, 1970, Kent State University in Ohio became famous as the scene of a tragic anti-war protest gone wrong, with 4 students dead and 9 wounded. Do you know what Kent State sports teams are known as? Hint: it has nothing to do with this infamous incident. They are known as The Golden Flashes. Many schools have teams named for ferocious animals or some sort of warrior people, but many others have names that leave others to wonder what the heck image they are trying to project. Since the NCAA forced schools to lose derogatory Native-American names like Indians and Redskins those names have been replaced by politically correct names. Here are 10 college team names that cause head scratching or laughing.  Cracked fact: Lebron James had no idea what a “Cavalier” is when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Digging Deeper

10. Zips, Akron.

Supposedly named after rubber shoes called “zippers.” (Note: Zips is not short for Zipperheads, which is a slur against people with zipper heads.)

9. Fighting Camels, Campbell.

Most camels are conscientious objectors, so finding a bunch of fighting camels is a rare and special thing.

8. Crimson Tide, Alabama.

This one sounds like a cyanobacteria algae bloom that kills fish. When you hear these names long enough one forgets just how odd they are.

7. Trojans, Southern Cal.

USC acts like Trojans is a name that evokes fierce warrior images like Spartans, or Warriors or something. In reality, has anyone told them the Trojans were the guys that lost the war and were suckered as well? (No condom jokes, please. They have heard enough of those.)

6. Chanticleers, Coastal Carolina.

Apparently some sort of chicken from The Canterbury Tales. Why are chickens an inspiring and intimidating mascot? If someone knows, they are not letting the rest of us in on it.

5. Hoosiers, Indiana.

Did this name evolve from “who’s yer daddy?” Maybe, it sounds as good as anything. For some reason Indiana is the Hoosier State. Maybe hoosiers are an extinct animal that lived there, who knows?

4. Orange, Syracuse.

Back in the day, Syracuse had Orangemen and Orangewomen for men’s and women’s sports, but now they save money on embroidering t-shirts by just calling everybody Orange.

3. Hokies, Virginia Tech.

Renowned for their National Champion Bass Fishing team, the Hokies have had national exposure due to other sports teams. If you are thinking there is no such thing as a “hokie” you would be right. The word apparently stems from a cheer many moons ago that started “Hoki, hoki, hoki, hy!” Sounds kind of hokie…

2. Hoyas, Georgetown.

This goofy name supposedly comes from “hoya saxa,” a cheer allegedly derived from Greek and Latin meaning “what rocks.” Sure it does. With Georgetown regularly fielding good basketball teams, millions of sports fans ask each other every year, “What the heck is a Hoya?”

1. Banana Slugs, University of California at Santa Cruz.

How inspiring can it be to have a team named for a bright yellow snail with no shell?  Especially the track team!  John Travolta’s character, hit man Vincent Vega, wore a UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs t-shirt in the movie, Pulp Fiction.

Question for students (and subscribers): What others would you include? (Buckeyes, Boilermakers, Fighting Irish, Aggies, Horned Frogs?)  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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 Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Gragnola, Jim and Cullen Vane. College Nicknames: The Ultimate Guide. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.