Greatest Team Nicknames from Every State

Nick HansenCorrespondent IISeptember 27, 2011

Greatest Team Nicknames from Every State

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    Nicknames are the lifeblood of any sports team. They give fans and players an identity, help create the mascot and most important of all, a good nickname can inspire (just watch The Mighty Ducks). 

    Some people may not like mascots that are named after things without much ferocity. I say you can only have so many Tigers/Lions/Bears/Eagles/Wildcats/Panthers/Hawks/Spartans/Warriors.

    Fans should embrace uniqueness with team names. I've scoured university websites, minor league baseball guides and many other sports history sites to find the craziest, most unique and just plain awesome nicknames for every state.

    Nicknames get bonus points if they embrace a thing or concept that has a rich history in the area. Or if they decide to just go against the grain and pick something crazy.

    Did I miss a team? Is your alma mater not represented? Should your small-town, minor-league affiliate team have gotten a shout out? Is there a team that folded that had the best sobriquet ever? Let me know!


Alabama: Montgomery Biscuits

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    This name just makes me hungry. 

Alaska: University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves

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    I have no idea what a Seawolf actually is, but it sounds pretty cool. 

Arizona: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Arizona could have just gone with "The Snakes," but slight variations to fit local fauna are always a plus.

Arkansas: University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils

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    Names that use an endeared (or despised) creature are always encouraged.  

California: UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs

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    One of the most unique names in any sport, the Banana Slug pervades the picturesque California campus. Students fiercely defend their lovable Sammy Slug.

    The Slugs have shown their toughness on the tennis court, winning six national men's team championships.

    And this fight song is pretty awesome as well.  

Colorado: Colorado Avalanche

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    Many of Colorado's teams have nicknames related to the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies, Nuggets and Rapids are just fine for names, but the Avalanche represent an unstoppable natural force. Much like the teams of the late 90's. 

Connecticut: Hartford Whalers

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    The Whalers were picked due to their still-rampant underground following. Also, the Huskies nickname is way overused. 

Delaware: University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens

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    There are not too many nicknames from the state of Delaware. I'm not sure what constitutes a "blue" hen, but I've dealt with chickens before. They can be ferocious. 

    Image taken from:

Florida: Jupiter Hammerheads

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    This name makes me think of some crazy demigod shark hybrid. Pretty cool image for a minor league baseball team, if you ask me.

Georgia: Savannah Sand Gnats

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    One of the best things about minor league baseball is the willingness of teams not to market themselves to seriously. "Gnate" the Sand Gnat proves this well. 

Hawaii: University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

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    Any team that uses the word "rainbow" is usually laughed off the field. I've seen some of the Hawaii football players. I wouldn't ever think of laughing at them.  

Idaho: Idaho Falls Chukars

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    I'm not sure what a Chukar is, but it sounds like an intriguing bird.  

Illinois: Joliet Slammers

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    This name pays tribute to one of the most notorious prisons in the country. And I can't help but also think of one of the best Jon Belushi characters, the Blues Brother, Joliet Jake.  

Indiana: IPFW Mastadons

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    The University of Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne gave themselves this moniker after Mastodon bones were found not too far from the campus. 

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Iowa: Quad Cities River Bandits

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    The Cardinals' single-A team could have easily gone with the name "Pirates," but the slight variation is more suited for the antics of minor league baseball. 

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Kansas: Pittsburg State University Gorillas

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    Evidently Pittsburg State is the only university in the country to use the nickname "Gorillas." I'm surprised it's not more popular. 

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Kentucky: University of Eastern Kentucky Colonels

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    In addition to making tasty chicken, the Colonel can also break it down.

Louisiana: New Orleans Jazz

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    Sorry, Utah. There is a reason it's called the New Orleans Jazz Festival and not the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival.

    As a side note, who doesn't love some good Pistol Pete highlights?

Maine: Colby College White Mules

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    Another example of teams taking something that usually isn't feared and making it their own. 

Maryland: University of Maryland Terrapins

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    Forget the flashy uniforms for just a second. Diamondback Terrapins are actually pretty cool-looking animals. And Terrapins sound much better than "Maryland Turtles."

Massachusetts: New England Revolution

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    Names with ambiguous meanings have the potential to be extremely confusing (I'm looking at you, Houston Dynamo) or really awesome. In this case, the Revolution got it right. The name combines US history with an energetic undercurrent. I can just hear the Beatles' electric version of "Revolution" over the highlights.   

Michigan: Lansing Lugnuts

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    Detroit's automobile heritage is represented in a zany way here. Plus, it's just fun to say lugnut. 

Minnesota: North Stars

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    Minnesota's original hockey team had it all—a fitting nickname, tight logo and a rabid fan base. North Stars gear is still found all over the "North Star State."

Mississippi: Delta State University Statesmen/Fighting Okra

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    Evidently, Delta State University has two mascots because students didn't think Statesmen would strike fear in to opponents' hearts. And Okra does? 

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Missouri: University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos

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    See the video to find out why you shouldn't mess with kangaroos. 

Montana: University of Montana Grizzlies

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    Have you ever seen a Bear in Chicago? Or a Bruin in Boston? Nope.

    However, you'll definitely see a Grizzly in Missoula. This nickname just fits perfectly.   

Nebraska: University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Whenever I had to husk corn I never felt all that cool. If I were a Nebraska fan, I'm sure I'd feel differently.

Nevada: Las Vegas Outlaws

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    The name might be cliche. However, Las Vegas is the only town that could get away with it.

New Hampshire: Dartmouth Big Green

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    Dartmouth gets the nod because its reminds me of one of my favorite movies growing up.

New Jersey: New Jersey Devils

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    Some people may not be fond of the Devil moniker (i.e. Devil Rays fans). New Jersey's name at least has some credibility. Google the "Jersey Devil."

New Mexico: Albuquerque Isotopes

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    New Mexico's energetic history is paid tribute with a radiant nickname. The team decided to use the nickname after an episode of The Simpsons had Homer trying to stop the Springfield Isotopes baseball team from moving to Albuquerque. 

New York: New York Cosmos

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    This is a tough one due to New York's rich sports history. However, the Cosmos take the cake. This name represents worldliness, wonder and amazement—all things that fit in with NYC.  

North Carolina: Durham Bulls

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    I know that "The Bulls" is a pretty popular nickname, but the Durham Bulls get the nod due to their effect on baseball pop culture. Crash Davis and Nuke LaLoosh are two of the best baseball characters of all time.

North Dakota: North Dakota State Bison

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    North Dakota is one of the few states that can claim to actually have bison. Therefore they get a pass when using the name.

Ohio: Toledo Mud Hens

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    The birth of the Mud Hens dates back to 1896. The confusion about what a Mud Hen actually is dates back to precisely one day later. 

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Sooners

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    The term Sooner refers to a settler of unassigned lands during the frontier expansion era. 

Oregon: Portland Timbers

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    Using a chainsaw to rev up the crowd (no pun intended) automatically qualifies as awesome.

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Penguins are the coolest birds on the planet. So cool that I wish Sidney Crosby had a cameo in Happy Feet.

Rhode Island: Providence Friars

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    Just please don't google "Providence Friars Mascot."

South Carolina: University of South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Did you really expect any other team?

South Dakota: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

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    South Dakota State designates one football game a year as "The Cereal Bowl." It's a fundraiser for the university's ag department, but I think it would be really cool if the winning team got a truckload of Lucky Charms.

Tennessee: Maryville College Scots

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    I'm guessing kilts are not part of their uniforms. 

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Texas: TCU Horned Frogs

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    This name really doesn't strike fear into opponents' hearts, but the success of the football program has proved doubters wrong. 

Utah: University of Utah Utes

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    I like this nickname because of its "yellability." Yelling, "UUUUTTTEEESS" is much better than yelling (Utah State), "AGGGGGGIIEEESS."

Vermont: Vermont Lake Monsters

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    Has Champ ever met Tessie?

Virginia: Richmond Flying Squirrels

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    Manager Dave Machemer shows that even though his team is named for a small, gliding rodent, he can still bring the heat. 

Washington: Seattle Supersonics

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    Sorry to dig up an old wound, Sonics fans, but these guys were the coolest. Reading Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan's ode to the departed Sonics brought a tear to my eye. And whatever a Supersonic actually was, it sounded cool.  

West Virginia: West Virginia Power

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    The Power nickname pays tribute to West Virginia's rich coal history. 

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Brewers

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    How many teams can pull off being named after people who make the nectar of the gods?  

Wyoming: University of Wyoming Cowboys

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    There isn't much going on in Wyoming with regards to sports. I'm guessing many of the University of Wyoming's alumni are or were actual cowboys at one point. I'll let the name slide. 

District of Columbia: Washington Bullets

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    Say what you will about the connotations of the name Bullets, but this video is awesome.