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School nicknames are for the (Bull)Dogs

August 1st, 2000

"Welcome to this years IHSA 4A state final, with the Bulldogs of Highland taking on the Bulldogs of Carmi-White County and stick around for the 5A Title game, Oak Lawn Richards Bulldogs vs. the Chicago Senn Bulldogs."

Ok, so it's a little far fetched, you're right. "A Chicago team in the state finals?" you say. Actually in all seriousness, a Bulldog vs. Bulldog match up could happen in just about all 6 class. If you sort all the schools by team name you'll find that there are 28 Bulldogs. This goes along well with the 26 Warriors, 28 Wildcats, 27 Tigers and 28 Indians (this doesn't include Redskins, Injuns, Chiefs or Illineks). A total of 20% of school nicknames in Illinois belong to those five names. The point being made here is; aren't school nicknames suppose to stand for something? Or should I say, weren't school nicknames suppose to stand for something?

School nick names have long been a source of pride in small towns and interwoven communities. Often times the name of a team was relevant to the history or location of the area. Such as the Joliet Steelmen, Cobden Appleknockers, Lockport Porters and the Hoopeston Cornjerkers.

Somewhere, the idea that a school's nickname or mascot should be associated with the community, was presented and embraced. Somewhere along the line everything just went to the Bulldogs.

Now this isn't a trash session for schools without an original nickname. It's more like a prod for administrators and board members of soon to open high schools. Along with the parents of soon to be students.

Although it may sound silly, but wouldn't you have a little more respect if Naperville Neuqua Valley just called themselves the Valley Boys & Girls instead of the Wildcats. Which by the way is already in use just 10 miles or so to the south in Plainfield. Speaking of Plainfield, they'll be receiving a new H.S. in a couple of years. Possible names for the Plainfield/Joliet Way West H.S. are now being accepted. E-mail them to us. New Lenox will open up Lincoln Way part II this year. A possible name, "The Fighting Commuters" has already been rejected, so it looks like Black Knights, White Knights and Shinning Knights are your front runners. Also plans are in the works for New New Trier, in the Wilmette area. Any takers for that one?


Here's a list of names that for one reason or another has won us over or made us wonder.

Names that work

Salt Fork Storm (Catlin & Sidell (Jamaica)? ok two schools share this name, but it's very catchy.
Fighting Owls (Chicago Gage Park) ? they just sound mean.
Rough Riders (Chicago Roosevelt) ? tribute to a past President.
Generals (Decatur Mac Arthur) ? tribute to a war hero
Coalers (Coal City) ? matches the history and the town name.
Ironmen (Normal Community) ? nothing beats a good strong name.
Reapers (Plano) ? dun da dun dun, just plain scary.
Hubs (Rochelle) ? everything centers around this town name.
Trevians (Winnetka New Trier) ? it just rolls off the tongue.

Names to think about

Sobos (South Beloit) ? still beats a wildcat any day.
Norsemen (Newark) ? defiantly a one of a kind.
Wooden Shoes (Teutopolis) ? a big Dutch population?
Whip-Purs (Hampshire) ? what can we say.
Cogs (Genoa-Kingston) ? big Jetson fans.
Pretzels (Freeport H.S.) ? the other Freeport team is the Bulldogs, this wins.
Flaming Hearts (Effingham H.S.) ? a name fitting for the Cubs or was that bleeding hearts.

Names that may need rethinking
Thankfully only a few names made this list. We apologize to all who made it, but we've found that some people agree these may be a bit out of place.

Orphans (Centralia) ? strange name for a team of under aged kids
Dolphins (Chicago Whitney Young) ? not in lake Michigan you don't.
Gators (Crystal Lake South) ? global warming may change that soon.
Hurricanes (Woodstock Marian) ? Blizzards is more fitting.
Bunnies (Fisher) ? sorry but even with fangs we're still not flinchin'.

With a school violence on the rise, it might not be long before these schools have a new mascot.

Bombers - Argenta-Oreana, Brownstown, Macomb & Williamsfield.
Bullets ? Williamsville
Blue Bullets ? Knoxville
Vandels ? Vandalia

Girls teams seem to be an afterthought when it comes to picking a mascot name. Most end up being the same as the boys teams or have the name "Lady" attached to the front. Here are a few girls teams that didn't fair so well in the name game.

Golden Girls (Crescent City-Irquois) ? who would have guessed it would have become a TV show?
Tarettes (Chicago South Shore) ? not a very nice mental disorder to have.
Minutemaids --(Bunker Hill) ? popular juice wasn't around when the names were drawn.
Ironmen (Normal Community) ? sure it works for the guys, but hey?
Lady Shoes (Teutopolis) ? there is a good chance of corporate sponsorship here.

Now, not all of the girls teams in Illinois came up short handed. What football team wouldn't want the Wild Kittens of Love Joy cheering them on?


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