Some mascots are a natural fit like Mr. Peanut, the Kool-Aid Man, or the Notre Dame Leprechaun. For every gem, however, there is a mascot so foul, so unbelievably ugly, it’s shocking to think someone sewed together their costume and thought it was a good idea.
Here are ten of the worst mascots of all time!
The Stanford Tree
This scary tree has a long history as the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band’s mascot. The band performs at Stanford, and “The Tree” was a popular song and dance they did during half-time at football and basketball games. Weirdly enough, the team name is “The Cardinals,” but the school didn’t think of doing a Cardinal as their mascot. Go figure.
For those who want to wear the tree, they have to go through an audition to impress a selection committee, sometimes resulting in serious injury. Maybe they should just yell “timber” on this one and call it a day?
The Wichita State ‘WuShock’
Sorry Dorothy, looks like we are in Kansas this time around. You can tell by the wheat-inspired Wichita State mascot, WuShock, or Wu for short. Shocking, or the harvesting of wheat, is a common activity in Kansas. Now known just as the “shockers”, the school has used this crop as a mascot since 1948.
WuShock has had a “shocking” history over the years to say the least. He’s been kidnapped, kicked out of games for rowdy behavior, and was even the target of one of Jimmy Fallon’s jokes on “The Tonight Show.”
UC Santa Cruz’s Sammy the Slug
It could be an alien, it could be a rejected Teletubby, but this is Sammy the Slug, a banana slug that serves as UC Santa Cruz’s mascot. Who would ever want a slug as a mascot? Well, the students at the university sure did, voting on it during a poll when it came time to replace their original sea lion mascot in 1996.
You could see this slug as a bit of an underdog, or underslug in this case. It’s slow, slimy, and ugly – not something to fear when it comes to football and basketball games. Still, the world has a special place in its heart for Sammy.
Delta State University’s Fighting Okra
If you take pride in your mascot, even if it’s a ridiculous Okra, you take the power out of the competition’s hands. They can’t make fun of you because you beat them to the punch. Delta State University is in on the joke with their quippy website and hilarious promotional videos like the one featured here:
Legend has it the Fighting Okra appears on campus at random times to torment students and faculty. Wacky videos, like the one featured above, show his shenanigans at work. After all, the swim team will probably do well with the threat of an alligator in the pool.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Fighting Pickle
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts held a campus-wide contest to get a new mascot in 1972. The result: the Fighting Pickle, a giant green guy fresh from the jar. Since then, he’s gotten a makeover, courtesy of graduate student Dina Perez, and continues to make the student body proud to be pickles.
It may come as no surprise that UNCSA doesn’t have any sports teams. Would you want a giant pickle on the sidelines? Probably not. The school is better known for graduating great artists, writers, musicians, and actors, such as Leo DiCaprio lookalike Dane DeHaan of Spider-Man fame.
University of Tulsa’s Captain Cane
Back in the day, Captain Cane looked like an upside-down beehive. In 2009, he got a much-needed makeover to look like a suave superhero, though he’s still about as intimidating as other soft captains like Captain Planet and Captain Kangaroo.
The Golden Hurricanes need more than this hero to support their teams. With his oversized boots and wimpy sword, he belongs more at Comic-Con than rallying the fans and cheering the team on to victory.
The Evergreen State Geoducks
Suddenly having all your ducks in a row doesn’t seem so good, especially when it’s this questionable Geoduck. The mascot’s name is Speedy and has appeared on a number of lists as one of the worst mascots of all time.
According to Evergreen State, the geoduck is a symbol of the essence of the college: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep—stable, yet flexible, and the antidote to departmental thinking and design that is the standard in most colleges and universities. At least they have some kind of answer for that atrocity pictured above.
Concordia College’s Kernel Cobb
It’s hard to be intimidated by a corn kernel, but that hasn’t stop Concordia College from using one as their mascot. For over 100 years, they’ve stuck with the whole corn thing, even going so far as to call their yearbook, “The Cobber.” Meanwhile, Kernel Cobb has gotten extremely popular over time, enough to have his own Twitter account.
Kernel Cobb started out as a friendly, approachable kernel. Over time, though, something seemed to pop. In 2006, he transformed into a ferocious beast, earning the name of the “Fighting Cobber.” It’s not corny at all…
Scottsdale Community College’s Artie the Artichoke
Some colleges go with lions, tigers, and bears as their mascots, but oh my, Scottsdale Community College went with a personified artichoke. Artie was born in 1972 when a group of disgruntled students voted him in as a joke. Now he’s a lovable part of campus.
The students were frustrated over the funding going more toward sports instead of academics. The artichoke won over, no kidding, a rutabaga. Today, the artichoke is famous among sports fans, even getting photographed with NFLer Patrick Peterson.
Western Kentucky University’s Big Red
This mascot is up to the imagination as far as what he’s actually supposed to be. Is he a wad of bubblegum? A rejected Muppet? It’s unclear for sure, but what we do know, according to the university, is that he’s the “Spirit of Western.” Of course.
The mascot’s creator, Ralph Carey, didn’t want to do anything too stereotypical and go the country route for the Kentucky school. He sketched a red blob on a piece of paper and brought it to Western Kentucky University’s president who was ecstatic about the character.
If these strange mascots teach you anything, it’s that there is power in embracing the weird. Go ahead – support the artichokes, geoducks, and corn kernels out there! Be proud of your brand and print it on sports stress balls and other recreation items. In other words, let your freak flag fly!