Colleges and professional teams are named after a wide array of animals, professions and anything in between.
While some teams have generic names (i.e. Wildcats, Warriors, Knights), others go with more creative names to separate themselves from the pack.
We sat down as a team to find the whackiest sports names in the country. We had so much fun with it that we decided to make a 64-team tournament and allow you, the readers, select who has the silliest team name in college/professional sports in America (and Canada).
Voting will commence on the Deseret News Sports Facebook page.
Today we open the voting for the Wild Animal Regional.
Click here to vote for your favorites.
Read about the Vocation Regional here.
A boll weevil is an infesting beetle that eats cotton and flowers. The Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevil’s are a Division II team from the Great American Conference, their colors are green and white and they have one of the coolest mascots in all of sports.
From the Santa Cruz website: “The Banana Slug (is) a bright yellow, slimy, shell-less mollusk commonly found on the redwood forest floor.” The UCSC Banana Slugs participate in Division III athletics, but are not affiliated with any conference. The picture of their mascot features a muscular banana slug. Chances are their track team or cross-country wouldn’t be that good anyway.
The IronPigs are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. IronPigs refers to pig iron, which isn’t actually an animal but is crude iron obtained from a smelting furnace. They started dabbling with a bacon logo this season, which has nothing to do with iron, but is awesome because everything’s better with bacon.
Campbell University is a Division I school from Raleigh, North Carolina. The women are called the Lady Camels, and their mascot is named Gaylord the Camel. Are camels natural to North Carolina? If so, one would wonder why they have to be so violent.
The Chihuahuas are a Triple-A baseball team, affiliated with the San Diego Padres. The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog and is named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. But seriously, who is going to get intimidated by that?
The only thing more awesome (or bizarre) than being the “Flying Squirrels” is that Richmond has an alternate logo and alternate mascot of an acorn. True story. How nutty is that? (Insert rim shot.) Either way, the logo of a superhero-like squirrel is about as entertaining as it gets in the baseball world.
The mascot for the Atlanta-based Oglethorpe University has a strange name, but a great back story.
The Stormy Petrel is known for flying low around shorelines in an attempt to find food — and it is not fazed by the crashing waves. The school's motto comes from this persistence: Nescit Cedere, translated as "He does not know how to give up."
This one’s laughable, considering you likely won’t see a kangaroo hopping around Kansas City, Missouri, anytime soon — unless one breaks out of a zoo. However, there’s actually a rich back story to the UMKC nickname.
According to the school’s yearly media guide, it was actually created by Walt Disney in 1936, who drew a cartoon of Mickey Mouse shaking hands with “Kasey Kangaroo,” because at the time, the Kansas City Zoo had just gotten a kangaroo. Though UMKC had just a debate team and no athletics in 1936, the name stuck and UMKC remains the Kangaroos to this day. They compete in the Western Athletic Conference.
According to ancient lore (and the school website), the “Zips” were originally called the “Zippers,” which has ties to a popular BF Goodrich Co. (based in Akron, Ohio) product by that name. That’s all fine and dandy, until you realize their mascot and school logo is actually a kangaroo.
Apparently at one point there was a debate, in 1953, where students would rather be called the Kangaroos. The kangaroo was officially voted as the school’s mascot, but the school never parted ways with its original name, instead shortening it to the “Zips.” Thus, Akron has a kangaroo mascot, but is actually named after a rubber shoe. A “Zip” is not a slang term for kangaroo, but the school’s mascot is Zippy the kangaroo. However, one would wonder what would have happened had the school adopted zipper shoes as a mascot …
This goes under the least intimidating bird category. At worst, a seagull might steal your food at the park when you aren’t paying close attention, which is annoying. But other than that, they’re practically the most harmless bird you will find in Salisbury, Maryland — where Salisbury University is located.
The school sells pennants that say “fear the squirrel,” but other than that one kid in Maine who got attacked by a squirrel after taking a “selfie,” nobody is going to fear a squirrel. It does beg one question though. Did they get this name because their team hibernates during the basketball season?
UMBC is a Division I college from Baltimore. The retriever is a Chesapeake Bay retriever, the official state dog of Maryland. They have a live mascot named Gritty the Retriever.
Colby is a liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. The nickname white mule came as a suggestion from the editor of Colby’s newspaper, as a white mule is the opposite of a dark horse. Their mascot is named “Morty the Mule.”
The Ice Hogs are a professional hockey team from the American Hockey League, an affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL. According to the Canadian government website, an ice hog is “a group of magical, furry animals that crossed an ice bridge over the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska, and then they traveled deep into the far north of what is now called Canada.”
“Geoduck” is pronounced “gooey-duck,” and has an average life span of 147 years. In fact, a geoduck is actually a large clam. Their fight song includes the lyrics “Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about, let it all hang out.” The Geoducks participate in the NAIA and are part of the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
The Sugar Land Skeeters are an independent professional baseball team from Texas. Their claim to fame is signing former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady and MLB pitcher Roger Clemens to play for them. Skeeter is a slang word for mosquito, and the name was chosen by fan vote.