15 UND Nicknames Left! Whimsy, Blandness, Lots Of Hawks.

The Final Fifteen UND nicknames have been chosen, and as has been the case in everyUND logo_1_0_10 round of cuts, my personal favorites have been tossed out.

Alas, Abdominal Snowman, Yetis and Wooly Mammoths. We hardly knew ye.

The last 15 names, in alphabetical order:

Blaze: I’ve come around a little bit on this one. It’s not a bad name, and while it’s a little abstract it’s much easier to visualize, draw and personify than, say, “spirit.”

Cavalry: No. Native American names being replaced by names of people famous for killing them is not helpful.

Explorers: While this name sounds neutral, I can’t help feeling it’s associated with white people who came and “explored” ground that native peoples had been living on and had explored pretty thoroughly themselves already. At the same time, as noted before, Sakakawea is just one very famous Native American explorer, so it can definitely not be said to be all about the white people, or the men.

fightinggreenFighting Green: The fighting green what? Green is an adjective, unless it refers to part of a golf course. Why would part of a golf course fight? And “fighting” just seems too much like the old nickname anyway.

Fighting Hawks: Kind of boring. And you’d hope “Hawks” won’t just turn into the Blackhawks’ Indian-head logo, but it sure could.

Force: The Fargo Force might object, and fans here might object to being associated with Fargo, too.

Green Hawks: Definitely one of the better “Hawk” names, it’s unusual but still recognizable. Hopefully this isn’t another backdoor way to get the Blackhawks mascot in the door.

Nodaks: I still don’t know what a Nodak is. Nobody’s explained it yet, either.

North Dakota: Boring, and it doesn’t give sports writers any alternatives, either. How many times can you put “North Dakota” and “UND” in a single paragraph before it gets repetitive? Not many. And you can’t really visualize it, although I suppose you could build a North Dakota costume shaped like the state.

North Stars: It’s still Minnesota’s motto, guys. This is exactly like naming yourselves the200px-Minnesota_North_Stars_Logo_2.svg Gophers and calling it a win.

Pride: People are citing this name as a way to stealthily “keep” the old nickname (as well as the “North Dakota” and “Spirit” alternatives). Totally aside from that, though, pride is one of the seven deadly sins, and not only that, but it is the most serious of them. It’s great to be proud of your school, but “pride” in itself has some extremely negative associations. Besides, how many signs saying “PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION” do you want to see at your hockey games? (No, it does not goeth before a fall. A haughty spirit goeth before a fall; people just misquote it a lot.)

Roughriders: I suppose we can put up with the double entendres. It might be worth it, because it is a nicely thematic name, after all. I’ve warmed up to it a little bit.

Spirit: I don’t know why you’d want to bring religion, or another name for booze, into a sports contest. And this is another one people cite as “we can still use the old name with this!” which doesn’t seem constructive at this point in the process.

sundogsSundogs: I’ve warmed up to this one, since it’s one of the only charmingly eccentric names left on the list. The Arizona Sundogs were a minor league hockey team at one
point, but the team opted for dormancy last year (admittedly this is according to Wikipedia).

Thunder Hawks: Less distinctive than “Green Hawks,” yes, but it’s kind of okay.

Here’s the TL;DR version of my own personal opinions, which, again, are not those of the Herald or anybody else:


Fighting Hawks
Green Hawks
Thunder Hawks

Fighting Green
North Dakota
North Stars

What do you think?

If we have to pick a new name, which of these would you go with? Please don’t answer with either “none,” or any variant on the old nickname. It’s been said and that’s not the topic of this post.

However, if you’d like to discuss the old nickname I’d encourage you to post on one of the threads on the subject on the Herald’s Facebook page; here’s one. Thanks!

24 Responses

  1. Mike

    It sounds like you’ll be awfully disappointed. If this is truly going to be a public vote…then you might as well eliminate the 14 names that aren’t “North Dakota” right now. If you honestly think that the people of this state will vote for a new nickname, then you’re fooling yourself. This process has been a waste of time and money from the start. We can debate the validity, cuteness, and atrociousness of the names above all we want, but at the end of the day…everyone knows that it’s going to be “North Dakota”. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. Debating otherwise is just a further waste of time.

    1. You are certainly allowed to have that opinion!

      But I’m not discussing what will and what won’t happen, just what I like. Sorry. I’m sure there are lots of places talking about what will happen, but I haven’t really addressed that.

  2. brad gibbens

    It won’t be North Dakota. It has no possibility for a mascot. What is a North Dakota? Chants of go UND North Dakota are not going to role off the tongue. And as far as it goes for fans of the old racist name, well, each year more of them die off and more people come into UND without the history. You can’t turn back the clock. Sorry, game over.

  3. Big D

    I hope the committee has the guts not to offer “North Dakota” as an option. All this does is kick the can down the road. Even though I love the old nickname, that battle has been fought and we lost…….time to move on. Those who can’t accept that opt to just stay North Dakota and thus unofficially keep the old nickname. Poor decision. If they do keep North Dakota as a nickname, get ready to have this battle again 5 or 7 years down the road. This isn’t really a nickname and people will be ready to move on at some point. Makes no sense from a marketing/logo/pride standpoint. Come on committee, make the tough call for those who can’t see the light! Do the right thing!

    1. That is a good point. It’s going to be very hard going for committee members. No matter what they choose a lot of people are going to be very angry.

    1. This is going to be speculation on my part, but:

      I think a lot of fans of the old nickname are using “North Dakota” as a sort of dog whistle that they think will allow them to keep using the old nickname. Alternately, they think this will preserve some sort of legacy or legitimacy for the old nickname. Some think it will somehow preserve the old nickname as the only “real” nickname forever.

      There are also a lot of people who think that being North Dakota for a while would create some space to allow fans of the old nickname to move on, and some who simply want to appease those fans for a variety of reasons.

      And a lot of people just don’t like change.

      There are likely plenty more reasons people have for wanting North Dakota and no true nickname/mascot, though.

      Still don’t really want to get into the old nickname stuff on here, though. Plenty of places for that elsewhere. 🙂

  4. Michael Hinderlie

    All of the proposed nicknames are really poor. If I choose now …I would choose the “Rough Riders” because it has substance behind it. Great Logo potential and merchandising sales. The other choices are just very boring!

  5. Stan

    The first commenter is correct. If it goes to a public vote, the result will be “North Dakota.” The other names are blandly unoriginal, uninspiring, and, save for a few, have no logical connection to the area.

    I don’t buy your argument about “North Dakota” being an unacceptable outcome. We’ve already been using it and it works fine. We don’t need a mascot. We already have a logo (the interlocking ND). This has been a waste of time and money for a university that’s already running a $5M deficit. Enough.

  6. Stephen

    North Dakota is the only choice out of that abject and insipid pablum that the school paid a marketing firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist in assembling. It’s unique to the state, not offensive to anyone, unique to the area and the winters are sure intimidating. Sundogs? Really? That’s the absolute worst choice. Light reflecting off ice crystals is sure fierce and intimidating. No wonder the Arizona hockey team folded. No doubt they fired the marketing guru who came up with that nickname before going into bankruptcy.

    1. I still think “North Dakota” is the most boring one on the list. Sorry! We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that.

      I don’t think intimidating is necessarily a requirement, either. You can do pretty well with an off-beat or quirky mascot – the Blossoms of Blooming Prairie, the Quasars of Southwest Star Concept, the Cornhuskers, etc. etc. It definitely didn’t hurt the Augsburg wrestling team to have a baby eagle mascot when I was in college; the annoying part there was explaining it all the time, not the oddness of it.

  7. Brad Johnson

    All of these names are poor and should be rejected outright. Beyond that, this task shouldn’t have even been attempted until more time has passed. One commenter made a crude remark about people dying off every year, which is correct, but time gives everyone a chance to let the bad feelings of how everything went down to go away. People who love the Fighting Sioux name aren’t racist or bigots. It was the best name that the school could have ever had and had a great deal of historical significance to the state. None of these names listed has any chance to succeed because of these factors. I say wait another 10-15 years. By that time, people will be able to look more objectively at a list of potential names and say they like some without the emotional attachment that holds us back now. Lastly, if you want a good nickname, you can’t do it by groupthink. That will only lead to boring, vanilla choices. Think about the greatest names in college sports: Cornhuskers, Buckeyes, Sooners, Tar Heels, etc. None of those names would be considered now, because they aren’t mean enough or don’t sound tough. It will take something interesting like that to make a great name. So, for now, let’s just be North Dakota with no mascot. Whatever the reasons are, it’s better than being another Hawk or something inanimate.

  8. Tony

    Sun Dogs … intriguing but better suited for a southwestern US school.
    Hawks (etc) … maybe, meh, I don’t know, doesn’t do much for me.
    Blaze, Force, Spirit, Pride … Too minor league.
    North Stars … Too Minnesota.
    Nodaks … What?
    Fighting Green … I don’t get it, something to do with money?
    North Dakota … Isn’t Dakota a Sioux tribe? Probably can’t go without a mascot because of that. I’m not suggesting changing the name of the school. Although Grand Forks State University is cool.
    Cavalry … Like it. I don’t think this offends people that had ancestors in the Cavalry.
    Explorers … Like it.
    Rough Riders … Like it.

  9. Dagmar

    As for “north dakota” — what a hollow and meaningless show of defiance to the NCAA. You won’t let me play with my favorite toy, so I’m throwing away all my toys to show you who is boss.

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