Origin of the Fighting Scot Nickname
When Wooster began participating in intercollegiate sports at the
turn of the century, its teams were known as the Presbyterians
because of the affiliation with the Presbyterian Church. Wooster
teams were also often referred to as the Presbyterian Steamrollers
because of the success of the football team, but that was never an
In the mid-1920s, Art Murray, who was Wooster's football coach in 1926 and later became its director of athletic publicity, suggested that the nickname be changed to Scots. The first person to use the new nickname was John Miller, a sports writer for Wooster's student newspaper, the Voice.
Miller used the term in reporting on Wooster's football game with Bluffton in the Oct. 1, 1931, issue of the Voice. Two days later, Miller and fellow student reporter Dave McLean used the new nickname in the stories they sent to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wooster's Daily Record and various press wire services on Wooster's 21-0 victory against Ashland. "Scots" became an instant success and was immediately used for all eight of Wooster's sports teams.
In 1950, after a losing football season, head coach Phil Shipe decided his team needed to be more aggressive. He spent the summer in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he watched the "Fighting" Phils win the National League Pennant. He was inspired by their performance and decided that his football team should be called the Fighting Scots.
The name was intended to be used just for football, but during the 1960s, athletic director Al Van Wie began to apply it to all Wooster sports teams as well as to the College's summer sports camps.
Wooster's women's sports teams, which did not achieve varsity status until the mid-1960s, sought their own identity and felt that the Fighting Scot was far too masculine, so they chose to be called the Scotties. But in 1987, the Women's Athletic Association voted to change the name to Lady Scots in an effort to bring unity to the athletic program and so that the men's and women's teams could share the "Scotspirit" theme.
Today, Wooster sponsors 23 varsity sports - 11 for men and 11 for women. Both the men's and women's teams are now known as the Fighting Scots.