Aardvarks, Artichokes, Banana Slugs, Big Macs, Chokers, Criminals, Dots, Earwigs, Fighting Okra, Flivvers, Geoducks, Hot Dogs, Imps, Jumbos, Kewpies, Lawyers, Meloneers, Nanooks, Orabs, Peglegs, Quips, Rock-a-Chaws, Snails, Spudders, Thunder Chicken, Urchins, Voks, Wreckers, Yellowhammers and Zizzers -- believe it or not, these names are actually used by high schools and colleges across the United States as mascots for their athletic teams.
Welcome to my collection of distinctive mascots of high school and college teams in the United States. This is a compilation of hundreds of unusual and out-of-the-ordinary mascots and nicknames used by schools across the country. Background information and facts, including their origins in many cases, about the mascots are also included. The high school and college sections have been divided into five parts: schools starting with letters A-E, letters F-J, letters K-O, letters P-S and letters T-Z. A full alphabetical index and special sections on distinctive mascots of female teams at co-ed schools, extinct or dropped mascots, and schools that mix their metaphors (using one name but a different symbol for their teams) can also be found on this site.
I hope you enjoy your visit and find this collection interesting. If you have a suggestion to add to the site, please mail me. Please include the school's name and location (city and state), and some background information, if possible. You may also want to review the index page to make sure that the school and name you suggest isn't already included in the collection. Thanks to all who have contributed suggestions and information!
I thank the following media members for their coverage of my site:
Craig Smith, Seattle Times (WA) -- December 24, 2002
Dwight Perry, Seattle Times (WA) -- June 16, 2003
Mike Gastineau and Dave Grosby, KJR 950 AM Seattle (WA) -- July 16, 2004
Carlo Kumpula, Spooner Advocate (WI) -- December 22, 2004
Brian McCombie, Outdoor Life Magazine -- December 2004/January 2005 Edition
Vin Mannix, Bradenton Herald (FL) -- February 13, 2005
Dave Charbonneau, The Oregonian (Portland, OR) -- May 10, 2005
Geoff Larcom, Ann Arbor News (MI) -- May 30, 2005
Todd Ceisner, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) -- June 28, 2005
Melody Gutierrez, Sacramento Bee (CA) -- October 21, 2005
Jason Foster, The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) -- February 6, 2006
David Murphy, St. Petersburg Times (FL) -- September 19, 2006
Ken Robinson, Fresno Bee (CA) -- June 3, 2007
Thomas Neumann, ESPN.com -- August 15, 2007
Marti Attoun, American Profile Magazine -- September 9, 2007 Edition
Donna Price, American Press (Lake Charles, LA) -- December 1, 2008
Dick Kalla, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) -- June 6, 2009
Leland Gordon, MaxPreps -- July 16, 2012
Doug Van Tyle, You Gab Sports -- October 25, 2013
Sections of the Mascot Collection (Listed by School):
How many schools are in the collection?
At last count, there are a total of 950 schools, 675 high schools and 275 colleges. The totals for each state can be found on the State Index page.
What inspired you to start this site?
I've been interested in unusual mascots for a while. It began when I attended the 1995 state football semifinals in Tacoma, Washington. One of the teams playing that day was Ridgefield High School, whose team was called the "Spudders." That sparked my interest in unusual Washington mascots. A few years later, I encountered Larry Frazier's excellent (but now off-line) website, A Cavalcade of Mascots, and I submitted some names from Washington to his collection. As I learned about more unusual mascots in the United States, I decided to start my own site. Thanks to suggestions from many visitors, media coverage, and mascot-related sites developed by others, my site has grown from a single page to what you see today.
What general types of mascots and schools do you include here?
Some of the mascots seem to be derived from school or community names, including some that seem to be a play on words using the school's name. Some names are even derived from insults. Other names honor their school namesake or a important person in school history. Some names reflect the identity of their community, such as local geography, local history, farming or manufacturing. Some names were probably adopted precisely because they are unusual. It's amazing what you can learn about a school or town from the nickname adopted by their athletic teams. Schools of many types are represented: public schools and private schools both large and small, urban schools, rural schools, religious schools, schools that have operated for many years, and schools that opened recently. Every state of the nation, as well as Washington, D.C., is represented by at least one high school or college in the collection.
How do you decide on what mascots to include?
The more unusual and distinctive the mascot, the likelier I am to include it. If the history behind the mascot is also distinctive, that helps me decide to add the mascot. If you do submit a suggestion, please include the city and state where the school is located. Including a description of the history (how, when, why it was adopted) of the name is also helpful. I try to avoid duplicating names (e.g. the Pittsburg State Gorillas, because I already have the Davenport Gorillas), so there are times where I won't add a mascot that is submitted to me. All suggestions are considered. Please don't take it personally if I don't include your suggestion or don't post it right away. Generally, I try to avoid including Native American mascots because of the controversy surrounding such nicknames.
Where did you find the information on all the schools?
A portion of the information came from Larry Frazier's former site, A Cavalcade of Mascots. Another sizable portion came from visitor submissions. I also asked questions of school personnel and media members regarding certain mascots. The largest portion of the information came from searching of books (Dr. Roy Yarbrough's book on college mascots has been very useful), newspapers, magazines, and almanacs, as well as hundreds of websites produced by schools, communities, athletic associations, and fellow mascot enthusiasts. Some sites I've used are noted in the Links of Interest section.
Is this information actually real?
As far as I can tell, it is. I try my best to verify the names and stories behind them. There are times where I don't add a really distinctive name because I can't find any information about it.
What's the difference between a nickname and a mascot?
Technically, a nickname is the title applied to a team. A mascot is the symbol used by that team. I use the terms interchangeably on this site. There are times where a school's nickname and mascot are different, as you can see on my Mixed Metaphors page.
What was the first college mascot?
Yale University claims this honor, when an English bulldog named "Handsome Dan" was adopted as the college mascot in 1889. I've also been asked what school first adopted an official team nickname. I'm not sure who has that distinction.
Do you have images of the school logos and links to where I can buy memorabilia?
Due to webspace limitations, I don't have images of school logos available. In many cases, you can find a logo on the specific school's webpage. As for memorabilia, you can contact the specific school to see if they have items for sale. Feel free to use the search engines near the bottom of the page if you wish.
What's your favorite mascot?
Tough question...Of course, I must mention my alma maters, the John F. Kennedy Catholic Lancers (Class of 1992) and the Pacific Lutheran Lutes (Class of 1998 and Class of 2002). If I have to decide on just one other high school, I'd say the Ridgefield Spudders, since they helped inspire my interest in mascots. As for another favorite college, I'll go with the Scottsdale Artichokes, which led me to finding Larry Frazier's mascot site. It's hard to pick just one, though.