California College Mascots

What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to college sports, a name can mean everything. Teams and schools are often synonymous with their mascot, and can often be used as somewhat of an intimidation factor. But sometimes college mascots have the complete opposite effect, adding comedic value and making you wonder how on earth anyone could have come up with that nickname. Not only that, but some are so obscure that you need to look them up in an encyclopedia before you even know what they’re referring to.

Funny and random mascots can be found at colleges all across the country, but I’ve found that there are an abundant amount of them in my home state of California. Maybe it’s the unique history, strikingly different climate throughout the state, or a different attitude towards the naming of mascots. Whatever it is, there are definitely a wide array of random and head-scratching nicknames. Without further ado, here is a California collection of funny, interesting, and ultimately horrendous college mascots.

- University of California, Irvine: Anteaters.

The anteater has to be one of the most random nicknames in history. It’s tough to strike fear into the heart of your opponent with a name like the anteaters. The nickname has been around since 1965 when the students were allowed to submit mascot candidates to be voted on. The anteater narrowly defeated a roadrunner, a unicorn, and a golden bison.





- University of California, Santa Cruz: Banana Slugs

The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs have always been a personal favorite of mine. It makes me wonder, why the banana slugs and not just the slugs? What’s so special about the banana slug? Well, as I’ve come to find out, nothing is really that special about a banana slug. They are only sometimes yellow, but can be green, brown, or white as well. Leave it to Santa Cruz though to put a spin on college mascot nicknames.



- Whittier College: Poets

Named after poet John Greenleaf Whittier, it’s only natural that the school’s mascot is the poet. They make the list only because I can just imagine the Shakespeare and sonnet references from their opponents when the football team takes the field.




- Pomona College/Pitzer College – Sagehens

Pomona and Pitzer College, both known and respected for the academics, team up together to compete in athletics with the mascot name of sagehens. This is such an obscure bird, that Microsoft Word recognizes it as a misspelled word. It sounds like something out of a nursery rhyme, or a weird Mother Goose type of cartoon character. I understand that “eagles” and “falcons” are used quite a bit, but sometimes tying to be too different doesn’t leave you with the best results.



- California Maritime Academy – Keelhauler

I guarantee that no one reading this has ever heard the word keelhauler, let alone what it is or does. Again, Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize it as a word. This may be the most random college mascot in history, and yet isn’t so bad if people actually knew what it was. Keelhauling was a form of corporal punishment practiced in European navies. It was used as a way to punish members of the crew for serious offenses. A keelhauler would tie the hands of a crewmember to a rope and haul him under the keel of the ship. Although the practice of keelhauling was formally abolished in 1853, CMA keeps its memory alive. A fear-inducing mascot indeed, if anyone actually knew what it meant.

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