High School Mascot Names

On Friday, I’ll be hosting a fabulous guest to my blog to talk about high school football. In preparation, I wanted to spend Amaze-ing Words Wednesday in the labyrinth of mascot names.

High schools choose a name to associate with their school which will be uttered numerous times with football games, cheerleading, baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, hockey, etc. This name will be on the lips of the student body and supportive fans. So what names often get chosen for this honor?

Well, the number one high school mascot names is…drumroll, please…Eagles.

That tidbit comes from High School Nicknames, a website which compiled a list of the most common mascot names. I did my own research also to come up with the usual, and the unusual, mascots. Rather than just shoot the names out there all willy-nilly, let’s categorize a bit.

Animals. Animals are the most popular choice for a mascot name. Typically, a school wants a fierce creature to represent their school as a force to be reckoned with–whether on the football field or in the academic decathlon–but some like “Cardinals” may be a bit less ferocious. Here are common ones:

Eagles Mascot from Eastern Michigan University
wikipedia.org, CMadler, 10/10

Eagles
Tigers
Panthers
Bulldogs
Wildcats
Lions
Cougars
Mustangs
Falcons
Rams
Cardinals
Hornets
Bears
Hawks
Bobcats
Wolverines
Huskies
Wolves
Jaguars

If we really want to make our opponents shake with fear, I wonder why I didn’t see the Cobras or the Fire Ants.

Groups of People. What comes to mind if I say “Knights” or “Pirates”? Another source of mascot names is groups of people who have demonstrated bravery or fighting skills in the past. In a tip of a hat to champions and contenders, schools often select the name of well-known or local heroes. Do you recognize these?

“Sparty,” Michigan State University
Wikimedia Commons, Pizza12456, 4/10

Warriors
Indians
Knights
Trojans
Vikings
Raiders
Spartans
Patriots
Pirates
Crusaders
Rebels (probably only in the South)
Blue Devils (after French soldiers in World War I nicknamed “les Diables Bleus”)
Chargers
Saints
Braves
Red Devils
Pioneers

Missing from the list are Ninjas, Cheerleader Moms, and Political Pundits–all known for their sparring skills as well.

Mythical Creatures. Forget animals and people; some schools go for the supernatural. For instance, Rhinelander High School in Wisconsin named its mascot after a creature later discovered to be a hoax: the “hodag.”

Hodag captured, wikipedia.org, public domain

Here are some other names of teams based on myth:

Dragons
Titans (elite gods of Greek mythology)
Phoenix
Pegasus
Unicorns

Sorry, Twilight, I couldn’t find Vampires or Werewolves. My son votes that some school adopt Zombies as their name. Can you imagine the mascot?

Weather. There are also teams such as the Tornadoes, the Cyclones, and the Hurricanes. We may not enjoy such disastrous events in real life, but on the field of competition schools seem to welcome them.

Objects. One of the more popular choices for a mascot is the Rockets. Living in the Houston area with NASA at my doorstep and the NBA Rockets basketball team nearby, I can understand the draw of this moniker. You can also find Bombers and, for reasons I don’t in the least understand, the Wooden Shoes.

Funniest Names. After combing through several sites, I did find some names that struck me as clever.

Arkansas School for the Deaf – Leopards. Did they do it on purpose? Rock on! I hope their students can at least feel the beat.

Poca High School, West Virginia – Dots. Clever, huh? The Poca Dots! In case it doesn’t sound aggressive enough, click the link to see the actual mascot.

Johnson High School – Atom Smashers. Because, really, what’s more frightening than an atom smasher?

What do you think of mascot names? Should they be animals, people, mythical creatures, or something else? Have you heard any unusual or funny ones? What was your school’s mascot?

Sources: Jockular.com-Most Ridiculous High School Mascots; High School Nicknames; Mental Floss-31 Unbelievable High School Mascots

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12 thoughts on “High School Mascot Names

  1. Julie, you should see the spreadsheet I made of all the Texas high school mascots for the post I didn’t get around to writing. I love your post!

    I think my high school has one of the best one-of-a-kind mascots. The Fighting Ganders. Yes, Canadian male geese. For some reason, it doesn’t often make it to the “unusual” list of mascots, but geese are mean! There was nothing better than being at a football game after the weather finally got cold, and the geese flew in over the field–except when that happened at the cross-town rivalry game. 🙂

    1. Wow, a whole spreadsheet! The Fighting Ganders? How cool is that!! I agree with you that geese have a reputation for being unrelentingly aggressive, so that’s a great mascot name. Fun one, Diana!

  2. My HS was the boring ol’ Panthers. My daughter’s school used to be the Dragons (back when her grandpas both went there!) but when it combined with the city’s other school, became the Firebirds, which I think is kinda cool (she thinks it’s dumb). What’s funny is she drives my old car – a Firebird and it’s navy blue, the school color. And my daughter couldn’t care less, LOL. IMO the University of Dayton’s is exceptionally cool, because it ties in with local history: the Flyers. 😀

    1. Firebirds is awesome! I like that one. The Flyers is wonderful too. My high school was the boring ol’ Wildcats. The school I attended before that one, though, was the Warriors, and the fight song for that school was much cooler.

  3. You mentioned mythological creatures. There are a few high schools that use Wampus Cats (which I blogged about the other day) as their mascot.

    I went to college at Stephen F. Austin State University. Their mascot is the Lumberjack. I am not sure if I think it’s interesting, but it is fitting. The area is known for logging.

  4. I think a mascot can be anything and everything!! We were the Rebels… and don’t you know that led to some serious controversy when I was in high school. Not the mascot, but the fact my high school still flew the Confederate Flag. Let me just say we no longer fly the flag… but we’ll always be the Rebels!

    Weirdest mascot? Hmmm….. I’m going to have to give this some thought. I know I’ve heard a few, my brain just isn’t working right now. I need some food!

  5. I went to two high schools. One was run by the Jesuits and our teams were the Wolves (the wolf is featured prominently on St. Ignatius Loyola’s coat-of-arms). I then went to the newer of two schools in a district: since the team name of the older school was the Indians, we were the Cowboys. They’re now the Trevians, named for the people in the area the district was named after. The strangest I know of is Loyola University Chicago (my alma mater), whose teams were nicknamed the Ramblers because they used to travel all over the Midwest. Evidently they had been using a hobo as the mascot, but stopped when people realized that the mascot was a homeless man.

  6. That is one fierce looking Poca Dot. : ) I like your suggestion of Cheerleader Moms because a couple have been truly ruthless.

    My high school was the Seaford Vikings.

  7. Love it! I think it’s really interesting when schools change their mascot. In the movie Easy A, the school went from the Blue Devils to the Woodchucks! LOL. I do get it when they change it for PC reasons nowadays. I know a nearby school went from the Reds to the Whippets. And it made a lot of sense to me when I saw a photo of a Native American man hold up a bumper sticker that said “Go Fighting Whites!” Funny, and still teaching a great lesson about diversity and respect!

  8. We were the blue devils in high school! We always crushed everyone – including the local catholic school, the Saints. I always found that particularly funny. I had no idea blue devils were an actual thing though! Thanks for sharing.

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