At The Daily Dose, we love clever and creative team nicknames. Here are a dozen of the best in college sports.
Located in the Sandhills of southeastern North Carolina, Campbell University fields 20 NCAA Division I sports. The Fighting Camels have been members of the Big South Conference since 2011.
The Mastodons are the athletic teams of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. In 1968, a skeleton of the ancient elephant was discovered by IPFW geology professors in nearby Angola. Fort Wayne is the only NCAA school to have an extinct animal as its mascot.
Western Illinois University is the only non-military institution to take its nickname from a branch of the armed forces. In 1927, WIU athletic director and head football, basketball and baseball coach Rock Hanson – a former Marine hero – gained permission to use Fighting Leathernecks as the school nickname.
Scottsdale Community College serves 10,000 students each semester. Notable attendees include SNL’s Bill Hader and David Spade, as well as Teach For America’s Will Edwards. For more than four decades, the school’s athletic teams have been known as the Fighting Artichokes.
Located 30 miles north of Orlando, Stetson University is a private, nonprofit institution of 4,300 students. Named for John B. Stetson, school benefactor and inventor of the cowboy hat, the Hatters compete in 18 Division I men’s and women’s sports. SU’s student section calls itself the “Mad Hatters.”
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the flagship campus within the U of A system. The Nanooks compete in Division II sports except for hockey, in which they are D-1. The Nanooks mixed-rifle team has won ten NCAA Rifle Championships and been runners-up four times.
Coastal Carolina University is situated on 630 acres in Conway, South Carolina. Coastal recently joined the Sun Belt Conference, where the Chanticleers [SHON-ti-clears] compete in 20 varsity sports. The Chanticleer is the proud, witty rooster of “The Canterbury Tales.”
One of only four NCAA Division I schools that don’t sponsor volleyball and baseball, the University of Vermont is a public school located in Burlington. The Catamounts – a large felid that resembles a cougar or puma – have produced 18 NHL players. The UVM ski team has won six national championships and 33 EISA conference titles.
The Paladins were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne’s court. On September 15, 1963, the student body of Furman University voted to make Paladins the official nickname of all of the school’s intercollegiate athletic teams. Eleven former Lady Paladins have played on the LPGA Tour, including hall of famers Betsy King and Beth Daniel.
Akron, Ohio, is the rubber capital of the world. In the 1920s, rubber overshoes – called “zippers” – were immensely popular. In a 1925 campus-wide “name-the-team” contest, University of Akron students chose Zips. Akron competes in 16 NCAA D-1 sports as members of the Mid-America Conference [MAC].
The 1917 University of Idaho basketball team played such ferocious defense that sports writers said they “vandalized” their opponents. In 1921, the school adopted Vandals as the nickname for all of its intercollegiate athletics teams.
Manhattan College participated in the first intercollegiate lacrosse game in the U.S., in 1877. Members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Jaspers field 19 NCAA D-1 men’s and women’s athletic teams. The nickname comes from Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C., who was head of resident students, athletic director, and baseball coach at the college during the late 1800’s.