What makes a college mascot great? Is it an original identity, or the power of a fancy costume? For some universities, notoriety may come from the bizarreness of the mascot itself. Even if your school has a mascot that may be cringe-worthy, at the end of the day, conveying your school pride is the most important thing. So next time you’re at your college’s athletic or spirited event, give a high-five to your school’s mascot. And if you feel like your school’s mascot is too plain, here’s a list of ten schools with pretty kooky yet memorable mascots.
1. UC Santa Cruz: Sammy the Banana Slug
You wouldn’t imagine a banana slug would produce a feeling of fear in an opponent’s mind, now would you? For UC Santa Cruz students, though, their beloved mascot evokes campus pride. After the university changed the mascot to the sea lion in the 1980s, students continued to rally behind their original beloved yellow slimy mascot. In 1986, students were able to persuade the school’s chancellor to return Sammy back to his rightful throne on campus.
2. Oglethorpe University: Petey the Stormy Petrel
Watch out Sammy the Banana Slug—on Oglethorpe’s official website, banana slugs are mentioned as the mascot’s favorite food! The university’s mascot is a stormy petrel, a seabird, and holds a very symbolic meaning—the school’s motto was inspired from this feathery creature. This isn’t Petey’s only claim to fame—the mascot was also on Animal Planet’s Mascot Madness television show in 2007.
3. Webster University: the Gorlok
Who ever knew that a mascot could be spawned from the intersection of two streets? Webster University’s mascot is a made-up creature whose name was formed from the combination of two streets, Gore and Lockwood, at the university. The mascot, which has elements of a cheetah, Saint Bernard and buffalo, was created in 1984 by students and staff through a school contest. The Gorlok’s number-one strength may be its ability to confuse the opposition with its lack of identification.
4. University of Arkansas at Monticello: the Boll Weevils
UAM possibly has one of the most intriguing mascots for a college or university. The Boll Weevil is a small insect that has a historical background. Chosen in 1909, this insect was a killer to cotton crops prevalent in the South at the time. Today, the pest is probably not so much of a threat, but the university continues to rep it for their athletic teams. The women’s teams use the nickname “Cotton Blossoms” instead, though.
5. St. Louis University: the Billikens
Never has an elf-like creature looked so cool since Harry Potter’s Doby. SLU’s billiken was born from the paintbrush and artwork of Kansas City art teacher and illustrator Florence Pretz in 1908, but she isn’t the figure famous for instituting the mascot for the university. SLU law student John Bender was the school’s football coach at the time, and legend has it that local drug store owner Billy Gunn called him a “Billiken.” William O’Connor, a legendary sportswriter, just happened to be at the right place at the right time—he overheard the comment and used the term for the university’s athletics. The Billiken has pixie-like ears and a small tuft of hair on the top of its head, but despite its strange appearance, it’s seen as a good luck charm. Maybe the SLU athletic record book is the judge of that lucky charm?