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  • America’s 14 strangest mascots in high school sports


    Yahoo! Sports

    Earlier this week I posted a job for Cairo high school, located in Georgia. Everything seemed relatively normal until I read somewhere along the way that their mascot is the Syrupmakers.

    For whatever reason, I couldn’t shake the thought of just how strange of a nickname that was, and it got me thinking back to when I was a college coach recruiting the southern part of Illinois and came across two rather unusual mascots that schools were using; the Orphans of Centralia HS (IL) and the Midgets of Freeburg HS (IL). Coming across both of those have proven to be useful material at dinner parties and during other casual conversations.

    That train of thought led me to wondering what the strangest high school mascots in the country might be. So I took on the project over the last few days, and while I found no shortage of funny, clever, weird, and downright offensive mascots, I found 14 that really stood out to me as strange. Included below initial list are a handful that couldn’t be ignored, so I created an “Honorable Mention” category.

    In order to make the cut of 14, the mascot had to have an actual depiction of some kind, and the mascot had to be unique to the particular school. Take a look, and enjoy.

    Blooming Prairie HS (MN) Awesome Blossoms


    Thought: Really? Because Blossoms just wasn’t enough? I’d like to know who came up with this one.

    Mt. Clemens HS (MI) Battlin Bathers


    Thought: There’s something about guys fighting and bathing that isn’t all that intimidating (or befitting of a mascot) for me.

    Boiling Springs HS (PA) Bubblers


    Thought: What the heck is a “Bubbler”?

    Robstown HS (TX) Cotton Pickers 

    Thought: Nothing about this one feels right…

    Yuma HS (AZ) Criminals


    Thought: Signs to “Support the Criminal football program” can’t be too successful.

    Frankfort HS (IN) Hot Dogs


    Thought: Seems like they could have had a little more fun with the mascot choice to me.

    Webb HS (TN) Feet


    Thought: Pretty clever. I think “The Webb Toes” would have been a better choice though.

    Aniak HS (AK) Halfbreeds


    Thoughts: Wow. Just wow.

    Cary HS (NC) Imps 


    Thought: This one should be a big hit with Game of Thrones fans.

    Watersmeet HS (MI) Nimrods 


    Thought: You mean to tell me that everyone’s favorite second grade pun is an actual mascot somewhere?

    Centralia HS (IL) Orphans

    Thought: I’m not sure how to feel about this one…

    Cairo HS (GA) Syrupmakers


    Thought: This has to be paying homage to the local heritage, and for that reason, I really like it.

    Grimsley HS (NC) Whirlies


    Thoughts: So, not a tornado…a “Whirlie”?

    Poca HS (WV) Dots


    Thoughts: Dots was really the only logical choice here (although “Dancers” could have played well too). Well played Poca HS. That actual mascot costume though could use a bit of work.

    Next week I’ll try to take a look at some of the more interesting mascots in college football (but the Upper Iowa Peacocks are going to be tough to top). So if you have suggestions on a mascot I overlooked at the high school level, or a suggestion for strange college football mascots, let me know @CoachSamz or at

    Honorable Mention: Mountain State Academy (WV) Birdcage Cuckoos, The Midgets (Butternut HS, WI; Dickinson HS, ND; Estherville-Lincoln Central HS, IA; Freeburg HS, IL; Hurley HS, WI, McLaughlin HS SD; Minnewaukan HS, ND; Putnam County, MO), The Pretzels (New Berlin HS, IL and Freeport HS, IL), Alabama School for the Deaf (AL) Silent Warriors, Northwest Yeshiva HS (WA) 613s, the Truckers (Churchland HS, VA; Clintonville HS, WI; Norwalk HS, OH), the Unicorns (Columbus School for Girls, oh; Keffe Technical HS, MA; Keio Academy of NY, NY; Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, CA; MLK Jr. HS, Cleveland, OH; New Braunfels HS, TX; North Carolina School of Science and Math, NC; Selwyn HS, TX)


  • Video: Coaches hilariously attempt a #DizzyPunt

    One of the most fun parts about the off season for us here at The Scoop is watching the creative team building activities that programs come up with.

    For example, take this fun team building exercise at Dakota State (NAIA – SD) called the “Dizzy Punt”. Here, they take two coaches (head coach Josh Anderson and defensive coordinator Cory Miller), have them spin around with their forehead on a golf club a dozen times, and then have them attempt a punt to see who can kick it the furthest.

    Yeah, it’s every bit as ugly as you’d imagine. The end result is two coaches on their back, two punts of less than five yards (on the first attempt at least), and the team laughing like a bunch of middle schools girls at a sleepover.

    …you’ve gotta love the slow-mo effects on full display here.

    Rest easy, we’re assured that the only thing hurt during this drill was a little bit of pride.

  • Photo: Georgia Tech trolls Georgia with its bowl rings

    GT UGA

    Georgia Tech won the Orange Bowl and claimed the ACC Coastal Division championship. Both of those accomplishments are represented on the Yellow Jackets’ bowl rings, which were revealed Friday.

    What else made it on there? The Ramblin’ Wreck’s 30-24 overtime victory at Georgia. Georgia Tech crowned itself as Georgia’s “State Champions” for 2014.

    By the way, Georgia Tech beat Georgia Southern by a score of 42-38 on Sept. 13. The Jackets are state champs, but not by a whole lot.

  • #IWishMyTeacherKnew can make a lot of coaches think

    Kyle Schwartz is a third grade teacher in Denver that started a classroom project and turned it into a movement.

    Teaching at a school where over 90 percent of her students are on free or reduced lunches, Schwartz wanted to understand the reality her kids brought to the classroom each day. So she created an activity called “I Wish My Teacher Knew,” where students were encouraged to anonymously share thoughts they wish Schwartz knew about them. Her kids were much more forthcoming than she ever expected.

    “I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously,” she told ABC. “I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know.”

    While it may not seem like it on the surface, high school and college football coaches share a common link with elementary school teachers. They’re often the first line of defense, the person a kid can turn to when things go wrong. And when things aren’t right with mom and dad, they’re possibly the only resource kids have.






    (via ABC, Kyle Schwartz)

    Schwartz shared her project on Twitter and it’s grown like wildfire from there. “I think it caught on so fast because teachers are highly collaborative and freely share and explore resources,” Schwartz said. “In the end, all teachers want to support their students, and #iwishmyteacherknew is a simple and powerful way to do that.

    While Schwartz’s students are different than the high school juniors and college sophomores you may coach, their struggles are not. They may not be as forthcoming to share their difficult home life or their social struggles as to sign their name to a notecard, but the struggle is in there. How can you help your players and your students through it?

  • Mike Leach “hasn’t changed a thing” in offensive scheme since at least 2008


    During his days as a quarterback under Mike Leach at Texas Tech (2005-2008), Graham Harrell threw for more yards than most of us have in our morning commute to work, and he currently sits as the #4 all time leading passer in NCAA history with an impressive 15,793 yards.

    Since his playing days ended after a few years with the Packers, and one year with the Jets, Harrell found himself in an offensive analyst role for on Leach’s staff at Washington State. This past off season, after Dennis Simmons left for the outside receivers job at Oklahoma, Harrell was promoted to coach the outside receivers for the Cougars.

    After wrapping up a career with over 1,400 completions (2nd all time), over 2,000 attempts (4th all time), and almost 16,000 yards in Leach’s offensive system, you just know Harrell knows the offense about as good as anyone. The other day, after practice, Harrell was asked about some of the changes or adjustments that Leach had made to the offense since the end of his playing days in 2008, and the answer Harrell gave was quite interesting.

    “Last year when I got here I was interested to see what [Leach] had changed, and then I got here and saw that he hasn’t changed a damn thing. So it’s a smooth transition for me. I feel like I’m just doing what I always have, like I never really left.”

    Harrell, in his first on the field coaching role, also touches on his coaching philosophy in the mic’d up session.

    “I just try to make sure that our guys are having fun, and they’re loose. I think that when guys are loose and having fun, they’re going to play better. I think it helps them because they can relax. If you’re riding them on every mistake, or you’re just on them all the time, they’re thinking too much about making mistakes, and not just making plays.”

    “Our whole philosophy is that we’re going to be good at what we do, and we’re just going to be able to execute what we do better than you can execute what you do, and that comes with repetition.” Harrell explained.