Michelle Berthiaume

Social Media Director


Many college teams love to wave their banners representing the name of their school and team.

A lot of these teams most likely aren’t even aware that they actually share these team nicknames with many other colleges out there.

Whether they share the same name or not, they don’t necessarily play the same game or excel at the same rate.

Pete Fournier said in his “Handbook of Mascots and Nicknames,” second edition, that the most common team nickname in college sports is the “eagles.”

Boston College, Eastern Michigan University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and 61 others colleges and universities around the NCAA sport the “eagles” team name.

The second most common nickname in college sports is the “tigers.” Louisiana State University (LSU), Auburn University, Tennessee State University, and 43 other NCAA teams are nicknamed the “tigers.”

Another one of the most common names for college teams is “wildcats.”

The University of New Hampshire’s athletic team nickname is the “wildcats,” along with 32 other colleges in the United States. “Wildcats” is the fifth most common team nickname in the NCAA.

One name that stuck out on the most popular list was the “Golden Eagles.”

Although I understand the popularity of the nickname “Eagles,” I found it odd that 16 colleges and universities in the United States were nicknamed the “Golden Eagles.”

Ranking number 19 on the list in the “Handbook of Mascots and Nicknames,” “Golden Eagles” was tied with “Spartans.”

Marquette University, the College of Southern Idaho, John Brown University, and 13 other schools share this team nickname.

Like the KSC athletic teams, 12 teams in the NCAA share the same name as our beloved Owls.

Temple University and Rice University are  nicknamed the Owls. Also, a yearly Keene State opponent, Westfield State University, also happens to be nicknamed the Owls.

Although a lot of teams share the same nickname, there are a few teams out there that don’t share the same name with anyone else in college sports.

Among the list of the most uncommon team nicknames in college sports is the Auggies, Banana Slugs, Jumbos, Gorloks, Ichabods, Fords, Violets, White Mules, Paladins, and many more.

One of the most uncommon team names I have ever seen is the “Banana Slugs.”

The Banana Slugs hail from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Sporting the colors blue and yellow, the Banana Slugs are a member of the NCAA Division III Independent Conference.

The University of California-Santa Cruz’s website embraces the use of the Banana Slug as its school mascot.

The website said, “The Banana Slug is a bright yellow, slimy, shell-less mollusk commonly found on the redwood forest floor. The students’ embrace of such a lowly creature was their response to the fierce athletic competition fostered at most American universities.”

Another team nickname that stuck out to me was the “Ichabods.”

Personally, I didn’t even know what an “Ichabod” was until I typed the word into my Google search bar.

Once I searched a little more, I found out that an “Ichabod” is not an animal, like most college mascots; it’s a person. “Ichabods” is the nickname of the Washburn University men’s athletic teams.

Washburn University, located in Topeka, Kan., is home to about 7,000 students. The Ichabod’s sport the school colors of navy blue, light blue, and white.

According to the Washburn University website, the Ichabod’s nickname honors the school’s earliest benefactor, Ichabod Washburn. Washburn was a nineteenth century industrialist from Massachusetts.

Bradbury Thompson, an internationally acclaimed graphic designer who attended Washburn University from 1934 to 1938, put together the logo, a tuxedo-wearing figure, sporting a top hat.

Washburn University highly embraces its beloved “Ichabods.”

There are many different reasons why schools choose the nicknames of their athletic teams.

Whether its to create a fierce image for the athletic program or to stand out and be unique, it has created mascots of all shapes and sizes.


Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at mberthiaume@keene-equinox.com

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