Iona’s nickname is the Gaels, a nod to the New Rochelle, NY, school’s founders, the Irish Christian Brothers. The school website describes Killian as “spunky,” but the adjective that more likely comes to mind for most people would be “deranged.”
(Chris Chambers / Getty Images)
A hurricane, while fearsome, would be difficult to depict. Instead, Miami chose the Ibis, a native marsh bird known for its bravery and leadership. The ibis is said to be the last bird to leave before a storm and the first to return after NCAA probation.
(Marc Serota / Getty Images)
Brutus has evolved through the years from “a smiling nut with human legs,” according to the OSU website, into the current nut-head-on-human-shoulders look. Making a mascot out of a buckeye is a nutty idea in the first place, but with his blank stare and half-hearted grin, Brutus is the inspirational equivalent of beige wallpaper.
(Joe Robbins / Getty Images)
Technically, Purdue’s mascot is a replica of an old locomotive. But in 1956, the school added Purdue Pete, a hardhat-wearing, hammer-wielding personification of… something. His dead-fish eyes and placid facial expression have been known to frighten people. When the current version of Pete made his debut in 2011, fans booed him off the field. John Langenkamp, a 2008 Purdue grad and a former Pete himself, was not thrilled with the new look. “It’s horrible, absolutely horrible,” said Langenkamp.
(AJ Mast / Associated Press)
The kilt-wearing Highlander was ranked as the top mascot in this year’s NCAA tournament by the folks at USA Today. It should be noted, however, that these are the same folks who have done unspeakable things with pie charts.
(Steve Helber / AP)
The TCU mascot looks like it was modeled after the thing that emerged from Sigourney Weaver’s torso in “Alien.” An actual horned frog would be less repellent than this ill-conceived abomination.
(Rodger Mallison / McClatchy-Tribune)
In 2016, ESPN said the axe-carrying SFA Lumberjack was “the mascot you’d want on your side if you got into a fight.” With his well-cultivated beard, he’s also the mascot you’d want on your side on an artisan cheese judging panel or a fruit-flavored-craft-beer bar crawl in Brooklyn.
(Ken Murray / AP)
Oklahoma’s official mascot is the Sooner Schooner, an actual covered wagon pulled by two actual horses. For some reason, the school decided to soil that fine tradition by introducing this pair of horse-like costumed creatures. The mascots’ features have evolved over the years, with the most recent versions resembling the love children of Mr. Ed and Barney the Dinosaur.
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WSU’s mascot has been given a variety of makeovers through the years, which perhaps is an admission that there really is no way to make an anthropomorphic shock of wheat anything but frightening and/or ridiculous.
(Harry How / Getty Images)
You can’t help but wonder if time’s up for this throwback to the old West, but Pete’s a proven survivor. Oklahoma State thought he resembled their gun-toting mascot, also named Pistol Pete, a little too closely; OSU sued and the schools settled in 2014. Clearly, A. OSU needs better lawyers and B. Both schools should be sued by Yosemite Sam.