For some reason, some schools in the United States call their teams by one name but use a completely different symbol for their athletic mascot. Other schools have an official nickname for their teams but are known by a seemingly unrelated name by fans, students, and media members. Why the mixed metaphors? This page was created to catalog such schools and hopefully offer an explanation on why they mix their nicknames and mascots. A number of these schools are already in my mascot collection and are marked with a pair of asterisks (**). I hope you enjoy your visit to this page and the rest of the mascot site.
Akron Zips ** (OH) -- Kangaroo
"Zippy" the kangaroo was officially declared Akron's mascot on May 1, 1953. The "Zips" name was adopted in 1925. A committee to suggest a mascot recommended the kangaroo and it was approved by the student council. At first much resentment and apathy surrounded the decision, which was made without the benefit of a campuswide vote. Defenders of the kangaroo countered with, "it is an animal that is fast, agile and powerful with undying determination - all the necessary qualities of an athlete."
Alabama Crimson Tide ** (Tuscaloosa, AL) -- Elephant
The story of how Alabama became associated with the elephant as a university symbol goes back to the 1930 football season when Coach Wallace Wade had assembled a great football team. Sports writer Everett Strupper of the Atlanta Journal wrote a story about the Alabama varsity team's arrival on the field to play Mississippi: "... the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow. Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, 'Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,' and out stamped this Alabama varsity." Strupper and other writers referred to the Alabama line as "Red Elephants," and the elephant's link to Alabama was solidified.
Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (Birmingham, AL) -- Dragon
UAB has used "Blazers" as their athletic nickname since 1979. The school introduced "Blaze," a fire-breathing dragon, as its mascot in January 1996.
Arkansas Tech Wonderboys/Golden Suns ** -- Bulldog
In the 1930s, a bulldog named Jerry became an unofficial campus mascot. He was owned by the family of business manager William Young. The original Jerry died in 1937, but
a new Jerry was officially adopted as campus ambassador of Arkansas Tech in 2013. According to the university, Jerry represents the persistence of Arkansas Tech and its students.
Attleboro Blue Bombardiers ** (MA) -- Eagle
I think the eagle has been used as an Attleboro HS symbol for a number of years.
Auburn Tigers (Auburn, AL) -- War Eagle
"War Eagle" is a battle cry, used by Auburn fans in the same manner Alabama fans yell "Roll Tide!" and Arkansas fans yell "Woo Pig Sooie!" Although little is actually known about how the battle cry originated, it has been a part of Auburn’s spirit for more than 100 years. Since the first War Eagle, there have been five other birds throughout Auburn’s history which have served as the school’s symbol and kept alive the legendary battle cry.
Brandeis Judges ** (Waltham, MA) -- Owl
Ollie the Owl has been the university mascot since 1955. The owl is named for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, an ally of school namesake Louis Brandeis.
California-Davis Aggies (Davis, CA) -- Horse
The horse as a UC Davis symbol dates back to 1921, when the U.S. Army brought a stud thoroughbred horse named Gunrock to campus to supply high-quality stock for the cavalry. Aggie students chose a mustang as school mascot to honor Gunrock. The Aggie nickname, too, was informally adopted in the 1920s. Cal-Davis opened as University Farm School, the branch agricultural college of the UC system.
California-Riverside Highlanders (Riverside, CA) -- Bear
The "Highlander" nickname was adopted in 1954 because of the nearby Box Springs Mountains (a.k.a. Highlands) and the fact that UCR has the the highest elevation of any campus in the UC System. The UC Riverside publicity director, honoring the traditional use of a bear as a school symbol at UC branches, had a friend create an aggressive little bear wearing a kilt for the school’s logo.
California State-Fullerton Titans (Fullerton, CA) -- Elephant
The choice of the elephant as the university mascot, dubbed Tuffy Titan, dates to the early 1960s, when the campus hosted "The First Intercollegiate Elephant Race in Human History." The May 11 event attracted 10,000 spectators and 15 pachyderm entrants. The college dropped the live elephant mascot in 1963 after he charged into a crowd and injured a few spectators.
Cesar Chavez Champions ** (Laveen, AZ) -- Pegasus
The Pegasus acts as a school symbol at CCHS. The name is sometimes used to refer to the teams at Chavez High.
Colorado Mines Orediggers ** (Golden, CO) -- Burro
The burro is named Blaster and has a stick of dynamite in mouth, likely to honor the school's mining heritage.
Cornell Big Red ** (Ithaca, NY) -- Bear
There is no official Cornell mascot or school nickname. A bear has been associated with Cornell athletics for a number of years.
Delaware Valley Aggies (Doylestown, PA) -- Ram
The teams are called Aggies for the college's original focus. The ram was adopted as a school symbol in 1959 at the Student Council's request.
Delta State Statesmen a.k.a. Fighting Okra ** (Cleveland, MS)
The story of how this hairy vegetable was adopted as a mascot begins in 1988, when a group of baseball players saw the Statesman mascot walk by and commented that the DSU mascot was not very intimidating. When going over options for a better idea, okra was suggested because it was green (a school color), Southern, and ugly. The baseball players began to chant "Okra, O-K-R-A," at basketball games along with "We're mean, we're green, we're the Okra Team!!" The idea took off after student newspaper reporters picked up on the idea and began to refer to the the DSU arena as the "Okra Dome." The mascot is a tough looking okra with a scowl on his face, boxing gloves and exaggerated shoes.
Denver Pioneers (CO) -- Hawk
Denver's logo is a red-tailed hawk, a species of bird that is indigenous to the state of Colorado.
The university chose the bird named Ruckus to symbolize the pioneer spirit because it was a majestic and familiar animal in the Rockies.
English Blue and Blue ** (Boston, MA) -- Bulldog
The nickname for the oldest high school in America reflects the school colors of Columbia blue and Navy blue, while a bulldog serves as
an athletic symbol.
Flagler Saints (St. Augustine, FL) -- Lion
The school was founded in 1969. The main building on campus is the old Ponce De Leon Hotel, which was decorated in an old Spanish style. Flagler College’s crest was created with two lions, “Rampant Lions,” which were popular in Spanish crests when St. Augustine was a Spanish colony. The Saints nickname may have been suggested by Red Cox, who helped create Flagler's athletics program. Cox formerly played for the semi-pro St. Augustine Saints.
Florida State Seminoles (Tallahasee, FL) -- Horse
FSU home football games begin with a student in authentic Seminole regalia portraying the famous Seminole Indian leader, Osceola, in a charge down the field riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade, then planting a flaming spear at midfield. The tradition of having a horse as a school symbol started in 1978, after the school received approval from the Seminole Tribe of Florida for the portrayal of Osceola.
Georgetown Hoyas ** (Washington, DC) -- Bulldog
The "Hoya" name is derived from an old school cheer "Hoya Saxa!", which translates into "What Rocks!" The name proved popular and the term "Hoyas" was eventually adopted for all Georgetown teams. Georgetown has used various breeds of dogs as school mascots, including a terrier named Stubby, who was famous for his exploits in World War I. A Great Dane and another terrier also served as Georgetown's mascot over the years. In 1962, an English Bulldog named Jack was officially adopted as a Georgetown symbol.
George Washington Patriots (Denver, CO) -- Green Giant
The high school's mascot is symbolized as a Jolly Green Giant. The giant was adopted after a famous 1965 prank, when two seniors placed a statue of the giant on the school roof.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets a.k.a. 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.
Gonzaga Bulldogs a.k.a. Zags ** (Spokane, WA)
"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.
Grove City Wolverines (PA) -- Wolf
School mascots at Grove City included "Wolf Pack," and "Wolves" in the 1930s. As the 1940s progressed, the use of "Wolverines" became increasingly popular. In 1948, Willie the Wolverine made his first appearance, clad in a football uniform, with a wolf's head that sported a large snout. The school says Willie combines the positive traits of the wolf and the wolverine. "Grovers" was also used as an alternate name into the 1980s.
Hartford Hustlers (AR) -- Beaver
I believe the beaver has been used as mascot at Hartford HS for a number of years.
Haverford Fords ** (PA) -- Black Squirrel
Years ago, players on the baseball team saw a lot of black squirrels near the baseball field. They saw the squirrels had feistiness, distinctiveness, energy and determination --
qualities the players wanted to emulate. In the mid-1990s, the college decided that the official nickname would remain “Fords,” but Haverford would adopt a
black squirrel as its mascot.
Indiana State Sycamores ** (Terre Haute, IN) -- Sycamore Sam
Sycamore Sam, described by the school as "a unique blue and white animal," (actually looks a lot like a fox) was introduced as school mascot in 1995.
Iowa State Cyclones (Ames, IA) -- Cardinal
In 1954, a group of ISU students, brainstorming on how to build more school spirit, approached Collegiate Manufacturing of Ames on creating a school mascot. Since the consensus was that you “couldn’t stuff a Cyclone,” a bird figure using the school colors (cardinal and gold) was the eventual choice. The cardinal-like bird named "Cy," short for "Cyclones," was introduced at the 1954 Homecoming pep rally.
James Madison Dukes (Harrisonburg, VA) -- Bulldog
This name was chosen to honor Samuel P. Duke, the school's second president. The university wanted a mascot that would be consistent with the royal name, so they chose the English bulldog to be the symbol of the "Dukes."
Lake Forest Foresters (IL) -- Bear
The nickname is likely derived from the school's name. The black bear was adopted as a mascot in 1995 to give the Lake Forest athletics program an identity.
Liberty Flames (Lynchburg, VA) -- Eagle
The "Flames" nickname was inspired by the school motto of "Knowledge Aflame." The eagle symbol was chosen as a symbol of patriotism and liberty.
Logansport Berries ** (IN) -- Felix the Cat
The high school has used comic strip character Felix the Cat as a mascot since 1926. At halftime of a basketball game that year, Curly Hupp, searching for a way to inspire his teammates to victory, placed a stuffed Felix doll on the playing floor for good luck. This mascot is claimed to be the oldest in the state of Indiana.
Loyola Ramblers (Chicago, IL) -- Wolf
Lu Wolf is the mascot for the university. He was inspired by the coat-of-arms of university namesake St. Ignatius of Loyola, which depicts
two wolves standing over a kettle.
Madison East Purgolders ** (Madison, WI) - Puma
The nickname is a combination of the high school's colors of purple and gold. The mascot is known as "Peppy the Purgolder."
Miami Hurricanes (Miami, FL) -- Ibis
In 1926, the University of Miami adopted the Ibis as the official mascot for the University's athletic teams. The bird represents "the leadership, courage, knowledge, strength and speed characteristics that our student-athletes portray," according to the school website. Folklore maintains that other birds look to the ibis for leadership as a hurricane approaches. The ibis uses its instinct to detect danger. It is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits, giving warning that danger is imminent. As the storm passes, the ibis is the first to reappear, a sign that clear skies are approaching.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (Murfreesboro, TN) -- Horse
A winged horse named Lightning was adopted for nobility and character in 1998 as a school symbol. According to the university, "In Greek mythology, the winged horse possessed superior cunning and speed. The thundering horse of the gods was entrusted to carry awesome lightning bolts and could only be harnessed by a noble being with a pure heart. Character, talent, and strength were required to mount and ride the fabled winged horse."
Mississippi Rebels -- "Landshark"
The "Landshark" was created by the Mississippi football team's defense. As part of that identity, defensive players celebrate big plays by putting a hand to their forehead in the shape of a
shark fin. A battle cry of "Fins Up" also came into vogue. Ole Miss fans and student-athletes from other sports embraced the spirit of the Landshark, and in October 2017, the university
announced the "Landshark" as the official mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels.
Neptune Scarlet Fliers ** (NJ) -- King Neptune
The moniker "Scarlet Flyers" was coined in the late 1920's by John Ogle. Ogle reported that the basketball team came out on the court wearing all red and was always the fastest team on the court. The nickname quickly caught on and was used to describe all the Neptune High School sports teams. "Flyers" morphed into the more modern spelling "Fliers" over the years. King Neptune was the symbol of the high school from 1897 until 1994, then was revived again in 2005 to symbolize the Scarlet Fliers.
New York Violets ** (NY) -- Bobcat
For many years, NYU's teams have been called "Violets." A number of members of the NYU community sought a tougher symbol for the school's teams, but no symbol won over the school. In November 1983, the Violets nickname was personified in the form of a person clad in a skintight, green body suit; arms in the shape of green violet leaves; a necklace of large purple petals; and a purple face with yellow hair. Though it served well, the mascot was seen as lacking by many people. NYU president Dr. L. Jay Oliva directed that the Violets mascot be replaced by a new mascot: the Bobcat, which was developed in 1984 by the school's Bobst Library to instruct users on how to use the new computerized catalog system. The cartoon symbol, named after the Bobst Library Catalog, came to represent the link between academic and athletic excellence that NYU was striving to develop.
North Carolina Tar Heels ** (Chapel Hill, NC) -- Ram
For nearly 70 years the mascot of North Carolina's football team has been a ram. A UNC cheerleader decided the school needed an animal mascot to serve as a symbol, just like Georgia's bulldog and N.C. State's wolf. Two years earlier the Tar Heels had posted a brilliant 9-1 record. The star of that 1922 team was a bruising fullback named Jack Merritt. Merritt was nicknamed "the battering ram" for the way he plunged into lines. It seemed natural to link a mascot with Merritt's unusual sobriquet. Thus, it was decided to purchase a ram named Rameses the First. The ram was introduced before the game with VMI, who was favored to beat North Carolina. Late in the game, Carolina's Bunn Hackney was called upon to attempt a field goal. Before taking the field, he stopped to rub Rameses' head for good luck. Seconds later Hackney's 30-yard dropkick sailed between the goalposts, giving the Tar Heels a 3-0 victory.
North Carolina A&T Aggies (Greensboro, NC) -- Bulldog
Dates to 1920, either because a bulldog named Major Brown joined a mid-game fight in an effort to protect his master, or because a bulldog bit a referee after a bad call
North Texas Eagles a.k.a. Mean Green ** (Denton , TX)
In 1966, the football team's defense, which happened to include future Hall of Famer Joe Greene, was nationally respected. The wife of the sports information director yelled the nickname "Mean Green" at a game and it caught on. The name was heavily emphasized in the 1970s.
Oklahoma Sooners ** -- Horses
The Sooner Schooner is a Conestoga wagon, reminiscent of the mode of travel used by pioneers who settled Oklahoma Territory around the time of the 1889 Land Run.
Powered by matching white ponies named Boomer and Sooner, the Schooner was introduced in the fall of 1964 and became the official mascot of the Oklahoma Sooners in 1980.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (Stillwater, OK) -- Horse
The OSU Spirit Rider first appeared in 1984, when the school decided to come up with a mascot for its marching band. The black horse that carries the Spirit Rider is
known as "Bullet."
Pacific Lutheran Lutes ** (Tacoma, WA) -- Knight
PLU decided in 2010 to use a knight as a visible representation of the current "Lutes" nickname. The knight is a revival of an old PLU athletic symbol, as
the university called its teams "Knights" in the 1960s.
Plymouth Pilgrims a.k.a. Rockies (IN)
Most teams at Plymouth are known as "Pilgrims," but the football and wrestling teams use the tougher moniker "Rockies" in competition. Both names are based on the history of the town's namesake in Plymouth, Massachusetts, known for the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Red Hawks a.k.a. Engineers (Troy, NY)
In 1995, the Red Hawk was adopted as an official Rensselaer mascot. Athletic teams including basketball, baseball, softball and soccer
have adopted this as their team name. Other teams such as football, hockey and track & field have retained "Engineers" as their team
Roosevelt Presidents (Hyde Park, NY ) -- Eagle
This high school is in Franklin Roosevelt's hometown of Hyde Park, hence the nickname. The school calls itself "Home of the Presidents" but uses an eagle as its mascot.
Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers (Terre Haute, IN) -- Elephant
The symbol of the Fightin' Engineers is Rosie the elephant. There are two possible explanations of why Rosie became a school symbol: (1) A nearby factory produced overalls with a red elephant logo, which proved popular with students; or (2) there was a elephant-shaped sign near the football field that students would parade with after wins.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies ** (NY) -- Wolf
The wolf was adopted in 1992 as mascot for SBU athletics teams by vote of a committee. The reason it was chosen was that a wolf played a part in a legend about St. Francis of Assisi (SBU is a Franciscan school). St. Francis tamed a wolf at the town of Gubbio in Italy.
St. John's Red Storm (Jamaica, NY) -- Thunderbird
The mythical Thunderbird was chosen as an athletic symbol in 2009. It is named "Johnny," which was an early
nickname of St. John teams: "the Johnnies."
Silver Lake Lakers (Manitowoc, WI) -- Pheasant
Freddy the Pheasant was chosen because of the bird's storied past at the college. The connection apparently goes back to the 60’s when a mounted pheasant was on loan from the college biology lab to the college library. As it stood out from the rest of the library décor, the bird became a target for student pranks. Eventually, the pheasant was returned to the biology lab. A second pheasant was soon acquired and presented to the student body as Silver Lake's mascot. Freddy became the pheasant’s official name in 1975. The original Freddy still resides in the biology lab.
Slippery Rock Pride a.k.a. "The Rock" ** (PA)
Slippery Rock's official nickname used to be "Rockets," but most of the time, they were (and still are) known as the 'Rock." Slippery Rock used to have a mascot named Rocky, a student dressed up like a rock. In 2000, however, the school changed the mascot to Rocky II, a lion used to symbolize SRU's new nickname, "Pride."
Southern California Trojans (Los Angeles, CA) -- Horse
USC's white horse mascot, Traveler, first made an appearance at USC football games in 1961 (in the home opener versus Georgia Tech). Bob Jani, then USC’s director of special events, and Eddie Tannenbaum, then a junior at USC, had spotted Richard Saukko riding his white horse, Traveler I, in the 1961 Rose Parade. They persuaded Saukko to ride his horse around the Los Angeles Coliseum during USC games, serving as a mascot. Ever since, whenever USC scores, the band plays “Conquest” and Traveler gallops around the field carrying a rider dressed in ancient battle dress.
Southern Oregon Raiders (OR) -- Hawk
The red-tailed hawk was selected in 1988 to be the representation of the "Raider" at SOU.
Southwestern Moundbuilders ** (Winfield, KS) -- Jinx
The legend of The Jinx dates back to the early 1900's. In order to celebrate an easy victory over arch-rival Fairmount College (now Wichita State University), the students erected a tombstone on Southwestern's campus. Etched on the stone was a black cat and the game's score of 41-3. For the next 14 years the "jinxed" stone stood in defiance as the Moundbuilders won every game against Fairmount.
Southwestern Oregon Lakers (Coos Bay, OR) -- Racoon
This mascot was chosen in 1962 because of the many racoons on campus. The "Lakers" name is used because the campus is near Empire Lake
Stanford Cardinal ** (Palo Alto, CA) -- Tree
The redwood tree Stanford uses as a mascot is modeled after El Palo Alto, the tree which is the logo of the city of Palo Alto.
Tennessee Volunteers ** (Knoxville, TN) -- Dog
After a student poll sponsored by the Pep Club revealed a desire to select a live mascot for the University, the Pep Club held a contest in 1953 to select a coon hound, a native breed of the state, as the mascot to represent the school. The winner, "Brooks' Blue Smokey," was selected by the student body at halftime of the Mississippi State game that season. Each candidate dog was introduced over the loudspeaker and the student body cheered for their favorite, with "Blue Smokey" being the last hound introduced. When his name was called, he barked. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and barked again. This kept going until the stadium was in an uproar. UT thus chose Smokey as its mascot.
Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs ** (Chattanooga, TN) -- Mockingbird
Originally, UTC's teams were called "Moccasins." The school decided to revise its athletic identity to move away from that Native American symbol and shortened the word to "Mocs."
The state bird, the mockingbird, was adopted as the school mascot.
Texas A&M Aggies (College Station, TX) -- Dog
Texas A&M has used a collie named Reveille as its mascot for many years. The first Reveille came to Texas A&M in January 1931. A group of cadets hit a small black and white dog on their way back from Navasota. They picked up the dog and brought her back to school so they could care for her. The next morning, when the "Reveille" call was blown by a campus bugler, the dog started barking. She was named after this morning wakeup call. The following football season she was named the official mascot when she led the band onto the field during their half-time performance.
(And for those wondering what the letters "A&M" originally stood for, it was "Agricultural and Mechanical")
Tulane Green Wave ** (New Orleans, LA) -- Pelican
In its infancy, Tulane's mascot was depicted as a pelican riding on a surf board. The surfing pelican image lasted for more than 50 years. It was later replaced by a number of different symbols. On August 19, 1998, a new set of athletic logos were unveiled to better identify and represent the Tulane athletic teams. A new pelican mascot was introduced and given the name Riptide in a vote of the Tulane students.
United States Military Academy Black Knights a.k.a. Cadets ** (West Point, NY) -- Mule
Since 1899, mules have served as the mascots for Army. The choice of the mule as a mascot reflects the long-standing usefulness of the animal in military operation - transporting guns, supplies and ammunition.
United States Naval Academy Midshipmen ** (Annapolis, MD) -- Goat
Navy uses a billygoat as an mascot, an association that began when an ensign donned a goatskin (of a ship's pet) at a Navy football game to entertain the fans. He romped up and down the sidelines, and his antics drew howls of laughter. The Navy victory that day was attributed to the late goat's spirit. A live goat made his debut as a mascot at the fourth Army-Navy game in 1893.
Utah Utes (Salt Lake City, UT) -- Red-Tailed Hawk
The school introduced a mascot in 1996, with permission from the Ute Tribal Council. "Swoop" represents a red-tailed hawk, a bird indigenous to the state of Utah.
Utah State Aggies (Logan, UT) -- Bull
The bull is named Big Blue, who represents the history of agricultural studies at Utah State.
Virginia Cavaliers a.k.a. Wahoos ** (Charlottesville, VA)
"Wahoos" and "Hoos" are frequently used by Virginia students and fans. Legend has it that Washington & Lee baseball fans dubbed the Virginia players "Wahoos" during the fiercely contested rivalry that existed between the two in-state schools in the 1890s. This name may be derived from an old school Indian yell, "Wah-Hoo-Wah" (which originally came from Dartmouth College). The abbreviated "Hoos" sprang up later in student newspapers and has gained growing popularity in recent years.
Virginia Military Institute Keydets ** (Lexington, VA) -- Kangaroo
Back in 1947, two VMI cheerleaders saw a picture of a kangaroo on the front of the magazine and realized how uncommon the animal was as a mascot. As one of the mascots was finally procured, a contest was held to give the creature an appropriate name. The prize winning name was "TD Bound." Sometime later the kangaroo's name was changed to "Moe" in order that he might be associated in all sports at VMI and not just football.
Virginia Tech Hokies a.k.a. Gobblers ** (Blacksburg, VA)
Virginia Tech uses a "HokieBird" for a mascot, which apparently evolved from a turkey. Tech teams had been dubbed "Gobblers" for the way the male athletes ate, or gobbled, their food at the training table.
Washington Shoremen/Shorewomen (Chestertown, MD) -- Goose
The Washington College community dubs itself as "Goose Nation," because, as they state, "If you've ever
visited Chestertown, it's hard to imagine an animal more iconic to the area than a goose." Their official "Spokesgoose" is named "Augustus," often shortened
Waukesha South Blackshirts ** (Waukesha, WI) -- Cardinal
The team was once known as the Cardinals. During the Great Depression, the school needed to purchase new football uniforms. Unfortunately, the cost of jerseys made with red dye was too expensive for the school's budget. Therefore, they decided to go with less expensive black jerseys. At the time black was apparently a rare color for football uniforms, so the opposing teams and their fans made fun of the Waukesha athletes and called them the "Black Shirts." Rather than be embarrassed, the school decided to show pride in the name, and therefore re-named themselves the Blackshirts. They also decided to keep the cardinal as their mascot, renaming him "Blackie Blackshirt."
Westchester Vikings a.k.a. Westcos ** (Valhalla, NY)
The "Westco" name is derived from the college's name: West(chester) Co(llege).
Western Illinois Leathernecks ** (Macomb, IL) -- Bulldog
The bulldog mascot is known as Rocky and named for Ray "Rocky" Hanson, an early coach and athletic director at Western. Hanson served in World War I and World War II as a Marine. The school received permission to use the name from the Marine Corps and is the only non-service academy allowed to officially adopt a nickname also used by a branch of the United States armed forces. Western received permission from the U.S. Navy Department to use the Marine's official seal, their mascot (Bulldog), along with their nickname in 1927.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers -- Big Red
"Big Red" is a large, red, towel-looking creature. Western's teams are often called "Big Red" by fans. The "Big Red" tradition was begun by former AD and coach E.A. Diddle, who was often seen with a red towel at games, using it for waving, throwing, crying, chewing on, and for signalling his players.
West Florida Argonauts (Pensacola, FL) -- Nautilus
The "Argonauts" name dates to 1967, but the official symbol of the school is the chambered nautilus. Dr. Harold Crosby, the university’s first president, selected
the chambered nautilus to represent UWF because he was inspired by the poem "The Chambered Nautilus" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The school views
the nautilus as "a symbol of growth, change and accomplishment." Students and alums jokingly refer to themselves "The Fighting Snails" due to this symbol.
Wheaton Thunder (IL) -- Mastodon
The school's geology department excavated a mastodon skeleton in 1963.
Williams Ephs a.k.a. Purple Cows ** (Williamstown, MA)
The name "Purple Cow" has been used since in 1907 when the student body chose this colorful bovine as their mascot. The name was taken from a popular campus humor magazine.
Worcester Polytechnic Engineers (Worcester, MA) -- Goat's Head
WPI students bronzed the actual head of its black goat mascot back in the 1890s when it died. It has since been replaced with a replica goat's head. Gompei is the name adopted for the spirited goat mascot, named for original goatkeeper Gompei Kuwada, Class of 1893.
Yale Bulldogs a.k.a. Elis ** (New Haven, CT)
"Elis" honors school namesake Elihu Yale, who gave of nine bales of goods, 417 books, and a portrait and arms of King George I to the Collegiate School, as the university was originally titled. In gratitude, the school was named after him in 1718.