Kansas: the Heart of the Midwest and home to corn, corn and more corn. There could be no great mascot in the state without a strong agricultural bent, surely.
As it turns out, that’s not the case.
Instead, Kansas’ best mascot is a sly reference to a critter invasion and a uniform switch, with the Pratt (Kan.) Greenbacks the result of a unique change in school colors and a waterlogged field that an enormous pod of frogs strangely decided to make home.
Frogs, green jerseys ... Greenbacks. Makes sense.
The switch to the color green was the result of both necessity and invention; the school’s football and basketball coach felt too many schools in the area used Pratt’s then colors of red and white, so he eventually switched the team’s uniforms to green.
Then the frogs began arriving. According to USA Today, the school’s original home field was not the most well designed to deal with frequent rain. As a result, whenever heavy precipitation would come, the field would develop a series of pools. In those pools came the frogs, who were all too happy to find a swampish home.
The arrival of the frogs made sure that the Greenbacks nickname stuck, giving Kansas a new mascot to pine after. None ever topped it.
Other Great Kansas Mascots of Note:
As with other Midwestern states, Kansas has plenty of terrific mascots, yet none can compete with the Greenbacks or these select few.
The Salina (Kan.) St. John’s Military Academy Muleskinners were named in honor of the state’s role as part of the great wagon trains of the 19th century. As noted by USA Today, muleskinners were the head of wagon trains who whipped the mules. Now the Muleskinners are among the state’s most competitive athletic programs.
The Hesston (Kan.) Swathers were named after a large factory in town which made swathers. Don’t know what a swather is? Don’t worry, that probably just means you didn’t grow up on a farm. In this region of Kansas, swathers were used to chop alfalfa into rows, and the Hesston Corporation was a prominent manufacturer. To say that the company left an indelible legacy is an understatement.
Fowler (Kan.) High had a single individual choose its mascot -- they’re the Goldbugs -- and handed that role to go along with a mascot that was borne of an Edgar Allan Poe short story. No students are reportedly as striken with gold as the lead character in Poe’s classic tale, but that are deeply devoted to winning, as is the mascot, who displays a V for victory with two fingers.