Having ties to Wisconsin and Iowa, it is extremely easy to dismiss (and frankly hate) anything connected to Minnesota, but I’ve got to admit, they have a really interesting story behind the Golden Gopher nickname.
Since the Gopher half of the name is older, let’s start there. In 1857 a political cartoon depicted state officials as Gopher’s pulling a train because of an expensive proposed rail expansion to the western part of the state. Much like Chicago became the “Windy City” because of the politicians, Minnesota became the Gopher State as a result of the cartoon. Since Minnesota is the flagship university, it was only natural to adopt the moniker.
Why golden? Well obviously that’s one of the school colors and as a result, the team had golden uniforms. This, coupled with the stellar play of the program in the 1930s, led the announcer to describe the team as Golden Gophers. Well that sounded really good to the ears of fans, so that name stuck.
I’m sorry, I can’t get past that political cartoon origin story. I did some further digging and found it this:
Too bad there isn’t any better version to be found since some of the word bubbles are hard to read, but it goes without saying that whenever you feature a trumpeting devil in your cartoon, you are doing something right.
2012 CFB Primer >> 2012 Pre-Season College Football Rankings – Top 25 from a Fan’s Perspective
More Behind the Nickname:
- Behind The Nickname: Illinois Fighting Illini
- Behind The Nickname: Indiana Hoosiers
- Behind The Nickname: Iowa Hawkeyes
- Behind The Nickname: Michigan Wolverines
- Behind The Nickname: Michigan State Spartans
- Behind the Nickname: Minnesota Golden Gophers