Marc's Distinctive College Mascot Collection: F-J

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Welcome to Part 2 of my collection of distinctive and unusual mascots of United States college teams. This portion includes schools starting with the letter F through the letter J. New and updated information is denoted by animated images.

Florida Southern Moccasins (Lakeland, FL) -- They're named for the dangerous snakes (a.k.a. water moccasins) found in nearby lakes.

Franklin and Marshall Diplomats (Lancaster, PA) -- Honors the school's namesakes, Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

Fresno Pacific Sunbirds (CA) -- This was the result of an 1983 compromise between "Phoenix" and "Suns."

Furman Paladins (Greenville, SC) -- This name arose in the 1930s to describe the Furman basketball team. In 1961, the students voted to use the Paladin name for all Furman teams. A "paladin" is defined as paragon of chivalry, a heroic champion, or a strong defender of a cause.

Garden City Broncbusters (KS) -- A term for cowboys who tame wild horses. This name is often shortened to "Busters" or "Lady Busters."

GateWay Geckos (Phoenix, AZ) -- This mascot was adopted in 2002-03.

Georgetown Hoyas (Washington, D.C.) -- Many years ago, when all Georgetown students were required to study Greek and Latin, the University's teams were nicknamed "The Stonewalls." It is suggested that a student, using Greek and Latin terms, started the cheer "Hoya Saxa!", which translates into "What Rocks!" The name proved popular and the term "Hoyas" was eventually adopted for all Georgetown teams. The school uses a bulldog to symbolize its teams.

George Washington Colonials (Washington, D.C.) -- School namesake George Washington first made a name for himself as a lieutenant colonel in the Colonial militia from Virginia.

Georgia Tech Ramblin' Wreck (Atlanta, GA) -- The "Ramblin' Wreck" name apparently was inspired when almost the entire student body traveled to Athens to see Tech's baseball team defeat Georgia in 1887. The teams are also known as the "Yellow Jackets," a name that dates to 1905, when the first reference to Tech students as "Yellowjackets" appeared in the Atlanta Constitution. Historians say the name was first used to describe supporters who attended Tech athletic events dressed in yellow coats and jackets.

Gogebic Samsons (Ironwood, MI) -- This is derived from the name of late Gogebic coach Sam Dubow, as the teams were sometimes known as "Sam's Sons." The female athletes are known as "Lady Samsons."

Gonzaga Zags (Spokane, WA) -- The official nickname at Gonzaga is "Bulldogs," but "Zags" (derived from the school's name) has long been used as an alternative nickname when referring to Gonzaga teams. The name has enjoyed great popularity among students, fans, alumni, and the media and was even used on basketball jerseys in the 1960's and 70's. By the way, the "zag" in the school name rhymes with "bag," not "bog," as some people pronounce it.

Grays Harbor Chokers (Aberdeen, WA) -- This college's nickname comes from a old term used for young loggers who wrap lumberyard-bound logs with cables before moving them.

Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties (St. Peter, MN) -- Refers to the college's name; symbolized by a lion.

Hamilton Continentals (Clinton, NY) -- Refers to the soldiers who fought for colonial independence against the British during the American Revolution.

Hamilton Wrecking Crew (Lincoln, NE) -- The teams had been known as "Aliens."

Harvard Crimson (Cambridge, MA) -- On May 6, 1875, the Harvard students held a plebiscite and overwhelmingly selected Crimson as the school color and nickname. It defeated Magenta, a more purplish shade of red.

Haverford Fords (PA) -- Apparently derived from the school name.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (Honolulu, HI) -- In 1923, after Hawaii’s football team won a game against Oregon State, a rainbow allegedly appeared in the sky. After that, every time a rainbow arced over the field, the team is said to have won, prompting a name change to the "Rainbows." The women's teams are called "Rainbow Wahine," or just the "Wahine."

Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans (Hilo, HI) -- Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and metalworking.

Heidelberg Student Princes (Tiffin, OH) -- The name "Student Princes," as applied to Heidelberg College teams, originated in 1926. The name is based on the Sigmund Romberg's popular operetta, "The Student Prince," tells the story of a young German prince whose private tutor, a graduate of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, went to the king to request permission to place the isolated prince in the university, where he could mingle with other students. At first, the sheltered prince hated the experience. But with the encouragement of his tutor, the prince soon came to enjoy university life. The moniker "The 'Berg" is also used at Heidelberg for its women's teams.

Henderson State Reddies (Arkadelphia, AR) -- Henderson State University's athletic teams have been known as “Reddies” for nearly a century. Several stories persist as to how the name originated, but no doubt it came from the color of the jerseys worn by the first football team. Early editions of student publications refer to the players as “Red Jackets” and at other times as “Red Men.” By 1908, newspaper writers were referring to them simply as “Reds.” A plausible explanation for the evolution to “Reddies” is that it fits into pep songs and yells better than the shorter and more blunt “Reds.”

Hesston Larks (KS) -- This is a Mennonite school, and the choice of a small bird as school mascot seems to reflect the church's non-violent philosophy.

Hope Flying Dutchmen (Holland, MI) -- The teams were called "Dutchmen" since the early 1900s. The school is located in a community settled by Dutch immigrants. The nickname "Flying Dutchmen" is reported to have been coined by a sports writer covering men's basketball in 1958. The women at Hope are called "Flying Dutch."

Hostos Caimans (Bronx, NY) -- This is a type of alligator native to Central and South America.

Huntington Foresters (IN) -- This name originated in 1928 and was a term coined by a local Huntington sports writer “Cash” Keller. The selection was inspired by the the sight of the basketball team running on the floor clad in green. This reminded Keller of the Robin Hood and his green-clad 'Foresters.' The name became popular among the press, who appreciated the originality of the nickname.

Idaho Vandals (Moscow, ID) -- Members of the Germanic tribes who sacked Rome in 455 A.D. This name was adopted in 1921.

Illinois Blueboys (Jacksonville, IL) -- Many Illinois College students volunteered for the Union Army during the Civil War. Because of the college's link to the Union cause, the students were dubbed "Blueboys," for the blue U.S. Army uniforms used at the time. The name eventually carried over to the school's athletic teams. The women's teams are called "Lady Blues."

Indiana Hoosiers (Bloomington, IN) -- The state of Indiana is nicknamed "The Hoosier State," and its residents have been known as "Hoosiers" since the 1800s. Many theories abound as to how the practice started: 1) The name may have come from a name applied to the predominantly Indiana-based workers of Samuel Hoosier (or Hoosher), who helped build a canal on the Ohio River. They were called "Hoosier's men" or "Hoosiers." 2) The word may derive from the phrase fearful early settlers called out when startled by a knock on their cabin door: "Who's here?" -- a call that over time degenerated into "Hoosier." 3) The term may come from "hoozer" -- a word that in the Cumberland dialect of Old England means "high hills." The term came to be attached to residents of the "back woods" of early America. 4) The early settlers of the state were such fierce brawlers that body parts (like ears) were lost in fights, leading to the oft-asked question when stray ears were found: "Who's ear?" The question evolved into "Hoosier." This last theory is most likely tongue-in-cheek, but makes for interesting reading anyway.

Indiana-Southeast Grenadiers (New Albany, IN) -- A grenadier is a type of soldier who specializes in using grenades. This name was apparently chosen because a pre-Revolutuionary War British grenadier regiment had supposedly been stationed on the land that was used for the future college's campus.

Indiana State Sycamores (Terre Haute, IN) -- This mascot originated with the species of tree found in West Central Indiana.

Iowa Hawkeyes (Iowa City, IA) -- Iowa is nicknamed "The Hawkeye State." The name "Hawkeye" was originally applied to a hero in a fictional novel, The Last of the Mohicans, written by James Fenimore Cooper. Author Cooper had the Delaware Indians bestow the name on a white scout who lived with them. In 1838, 12 years after the book was published, people in the territory of Iowa acquired the nickname, chiefly through the efforts of Judge David Rorer of Burlington and James Edwards of Fort Madison. Edwards, editor of the Fort Madison Patriot, moved his paper to Burlington in 1843 and renamed it the Burlington Hawk-Eye. The two men continued their campaign to popularize the name and territorial officials eventually gave it their formal approval.

Iowa Western Reivers (Council Bluffs, IA) -- The "Reivers" were feuding Scottish and English families who lived near the western end of the Anglo-Scot border in medieval times. They were known for lawlessness and ferocity. The actual term means "robber" or "bandit."

Jamestown Jimmies (ND) -- An derivative of the school's name. Also used for the women's teams.

John Carroll Blue Streaks (Cleveland, OH) -- The "Blue Streaks" name was inspired by a quote from dying alum and sportswriter Raymond Gibbons, who after watching the football team practice one last time, said "There they go, just like a bunch of blue streaks." Symbolized by a horizontal lightning bolt.

Johnson Bible Preachers (Knoxville, TN) -- The womens' teams are known as "Evangels," another term for a person who preaches.

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