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How the “Red Men” Came To Be, and What They Could Be Instead

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Wheaton College has the Thunder. Augustana has the Vikings. Carroll has the Pioneers. Carthage has the … Red Men. Not a particularly intimidating name for a sports team. Why is Carthage the RedMen? Is it because they are men who wear red? Well, sort of.

According to Inside Higher Ed, back when Carthage was still in Carthage, Illinois, the high school football teams wore blue and were called the “Blueboys.” To distinguish themselves, Carthage became the “Redmen,” because, well, they wore red and were men, although they were also known as the “Fighting Lutherans” and the “Fighting Fools” for a little bit as well. Note that at the time it was Redmen, not Red Men. That change came much later. Fast forward several decades, and Carthage had adopted a letter “C” logo similar to the one it has today, except then it had a pair of feathers hanging from it.

This, along with the name Redmen, attracted the ire of the NCAA, who in 2004 declared the Carthage Redmen to be a name “hostile” and “offensive” to Native Americans. In order to compete in the playoffs, the feathers were removed and a space added.

And that is how we got to today’s Red Men and Lady Reds. No more Native American references. All of this aside, let’s face it—Carthage could have a much better team name.

The easiest solution would be to become the Reds. It would have the least amount of branding to change, and it would solve the problem of an awkward name. The Flames is another easy option, as is the Torches, given that Carthage already uses a flame logo. If Carthage was to change its team name, it could change it to anything it wanted. While the Reds and the Flames are improvements over the Red Men, they still lack a certain je ne sais quoi. Neither one really prompts an obvious mascot or logo, either.

Another option would be to name the team after something associated with ancient Carthage. Given the amount Hannibal liked them, perhaps Elephants would be a good choice. They are big, tough, and you do not want to mess with them.
Perhaps the best choice, however, is linked to Carthage’s current location. In the same vein as the Elephants, the Mammoths (a nod to the mammoth found in Kenosha County and on display in the Kenosha Public Museum) would be my pick for the team name. Mammoths share many traits with elephants, and have the added bonus of being nearly unique (only three teams that I know of have ever been named the Mammoths). It would make the team more linked to Kenosha and possibly even broaden the local fan base.

But whether it is the Redmen, the Red Men or the Mammoths, go Carthage!

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