Teams with Ambiguous Names

Today was a beautiful day, wasn’t it? The mercury worked its way up into the upper 50’s after three straight days of rain, rain, and more rain. In fact, it rained so much on the east coast — let alone Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philly, the water had nowhere to go but onto the streets.  Don’t look now, but I have there’s teenage girls walking in flip-flops. Yep, you heard me right, flip-flops! And it’s not even April yet!

On that note, with the road to the big dance underway, there’s one question that’s burning my mind — and maybe yours: what the heck is a Hoya? And what about a Terrapin? And what does an elephant have to do with the Alabama Crimson Tide?

The Georgetown Hoyas’ mascot may be a bulldog, but the name “Hoya” originates from the famous cheer “Hoia Saxa.” That was derived from a student who, using Greek and Latin terms, dubbed the team “Hoia Saxa,” meaning “what rocks.” Prior to 1962, the Georgetown Hoyas were known as “The Stonewalls.”

Maryland Terrapins: Maryland’s teams used to be known as the “Old Liners” (Maryland’s nickname is “The Old Line State”) until 1932. Football Coach H.C. Byrd recommended the Diamondback Terrapin as mascot in response to the student newspapers search for an “official” leader. The diamondback terrapin is the official reptile of the state of Maryland.

Alabama Crimson Tide: The Alabama Crimson Tide used to be known as the “Crimson White,” named after the school colors. They were also known as the “Thin Red Line” until 1906, when former Birmingham Age-Herald sports editor Hugh Roberts started calling them the “Crimson Tide.” There he described the 1907 game between Alabama and Auburn in Birmingham. As for the elephant, Alabama’s association with the elephant dates back to the 1930 football season when the Tide was led by Coach Wallace Wade. The elephant did not officially become an Alabama mascot until 1979.

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