OPINION: Top 10 Most Unusual Division 1 team names

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Willie the Wildcat catches the TCU horned frog mascot during the game against TCU on Oct. 19, 2019 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

10. Seawolves — Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, N.Y.)

Even though it would be super neat if a Seawolf was real, unfortunately it’s not. However, it is quite an intimidating nickname if you ask me. Stony Brook acquired the Seawolves name in 1994 after previously being known as the Stony Brook Patriots. The Seawolf is viewed as a creature that brought good luck to those able to see it, and was highly observed by the Tlingit tribe.

Notable Sports Alumni: Joe Nathan, former six-time MLB All-Star and Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer.

9. Lumberjacks/Ladyjacks — Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX)

I always thought Stephen F. Austin was a Lumberjack. Instead, Austin was known as the “Father of Texas”and an American patriot and had no connection to the nickname whatsoever. Since the school opened, the Lumberjack monicker has stuck. In 1923, the university held a meeting to officially open and faculty members had chance to offer their suggestions on what they wanted the nickname to be. Former professor of English T.E. Ferguson came up with Lumberjack name, and it stuck. Ferguson’s explanation was that the university was surrounded by the piney woods of Deep East Texas. Current men’s and women’s athletic teams are named the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks, respectively.

Notable Sports Alumni: Hunter Dozier, MLB player

8. Green Wave — Tulane University (New Orleans, La.)

A green wave? That’s some dirty water. Tulane stands unique with school colors of Olive and Blue, which was their original nickname — Olive and Blue. In 1920, a song titled “The Rolling Green Wave” was published in the Tulane Hullabaloo, the acting student newspaper. Since then, the schools nickname has been the Green Wave.

Notable Sports Alumni: Matt Forte, former NFL Running Back

7. Fightin’ Blue Hens — University of Delaware (Newark, Del.)

Never in a million years would I think a hen was intimidating — especially a blue hen. Nonetheless, the name was adopted from Captain John Caldwell. Caldwell served as captain of a Delaware regiment in 1775. He owned chickens and his men used to stage fights for entertainment. Caldwell’s chickens had a bluish tint and were known as the Kent County Blue Hens. Captain Caldwell passed away in 1777 and his regiment was called Blue Hen Chickens. Later, they changed to the Fightin’ Blue Hens in remembrance of Captain Caldwell. The university adopted the name.

Notable Sports Alumni: Joe Flacco, NFL Quarterback

6. Tribe — College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Va.)

My thinking is that William and Mary adopted their name because of the early colonial settlements of Native Americans in Virginia. William and Mary were initially named the Indians, but later renamed the Tribe in 1978. Origins of the term Tribe remain unknown, but the college has gone through many renamings over the last 100 years. Additional changes have been made to the existing logo to fit newly passed NCAA regulations.

Notable Sports Alumni: Lynn Barry, former assistant director of USA Women’s basketball

5. Racers — Murray State University (Murray, Ky.)

If you were like me and you didn’t know Murray State University was located in Kentucky, it would be pretty difficult to guess the origin of the Racers. But, to native Kentuckians, horse racing would most likely come to mind immediately. Athletic teams were first known as the Thoroughbreds, but the lengthy name was shortened to the Racers in the late 1950s.

Notable Sports Alumni: Ja Morant, NBA player

4. Fighting Camels/Lady Camels — Campbell University (Buies City, N.C.)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of a Fighting Camel is actually quite a scary sight. I think Campbell University thought the same thing when it adopted the name in early 1930s. Today, there is still uncertainty to why the nickname was chosen.

Notable Sports Alumni: Gaylord Perry, former MLB pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award Winner

3. Peacocks/Peahens — Saint Peter’s University (Jersey City, N.J.)

The land in which the university sits atop was once owned by Michael Pauw. Pauw translates to Peacock in Dutch. In pagan mythology, a peacock is symbol of rebirth. Saint Peter’s is the only Division 1 program with the nickname the Peacocks.

Notable Sports Alumni: Keydren Clark, two-time NCAA scoring champion and seventh all-time leading scorer in NCAA history.

2. Governors/Lady Govs — Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, Tenn.)

For all historians out there, the Governors nickname might ring a bell. If it doesn’t, it might make sense once I explain. Austin Peay was once the former governor of Tennessee. The university was established in 1927 and was named after him in 1929.

Notable Sports Alumni: Bonnie Sloan, first deaf player in the NFL

1. Blue Hose — Presbyterian College (Clinton, S.C.)

The word hose has a couple different meanings. What made the most sense to me was the hose that shot out water, but how could that make any sense? Well, I was wrong. It refers to hose, like socks. The Blue Hose nickname comes from the early twentieth century and the socks that the Presbyterian football team wore.

Notable Sports Alumni: Roy Skinner, former head basketball coach at Vanderbilt University


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