Lists of colleges with odd nicknames are not hard to find, but they are usually dominated by well-known football or basketball schools. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Georgetown Hoyas and Virginia Tech Hokies come to mind. Some articles about “bad” nicknames will cite ones that don’t seem outlandish to me like Crimson Tide or Cornhuskers.
Most nicknames have a connection to the school’s history, geography or founders. Of course, that doesn’t explain the plethora of animal names, including tigers and wildcats showing up in surprising places like Baton Rouge, Clemson, Lexington and suburban Philadelphia. Odder still are the surreal geographic interpretations in place at upstate New York’s Le Moyne College (home of the Dolphins?) and Ohio’s Youngstown State (the Penguins?). Bad puns seem to be in vogue in the NYC metro area where we can find the Pace Setters and the Rider Broncs. I can contribute a few new ones for some colleges to consider. How about the Duke Ellingtons, George Washington Bridges or the Occidental Damage?
Staying east of the Mississippi and focusing on small and mid-size colleges, here are some nicknames that for my money are pretty odd or awkward:
Akron Zips Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Centenary Gentlemen (and Ladies) Connecticut College Camels Furman Paladins
LeMoyne Dolphins Manhattan Jaspers McDaniel Green Terror Millsaps Majors NYU Violets Pace Setters
Rider Broncs Rowan Profs Savannah College of Art & Design Bees Wabash Little Giants
Wheaton (MA) Lyons Williams Ephs Youngstown State Penguins