For your consideration: The University of North Dakota Pilots

Introducing The University of North Dakota Pilots. The Pilots. The UND Pilots.
In the interest of generating public support for one or more new nickname ideas, I offer for your consideration The Pilots.

Any new name must pass muster in a number of different areas to make a final list. The guidelines which follow come directly from the task force charged with finding a new nickname at Arkansas State University. I’m not suggesting that the University of North Dakota will work under the same exact framework, but at this stage guidelines such as these will inform and direct our discussion.

The name selected must not conflict with the school colors.

No conflict here. Any sort of Pilot logo could easily use green and/or pink as its primary colors, with black and white as secondary or alternate colors.

The name selected must be suitable for use with both men’s and women’s teams (non-gender specific).


The name selected should not be one that invites derision, humor or double meaning.

Aside from the fact that plane crashes inevitably occur from time to time, I couldn’t think of anything else to include here.

The name selected should be one that will stand the test of time.

Given the strong connection with UND’s Aerospace program and the continued presence of the Air Force Base in the Grand Forks community, I’m confident that Pilots can last forever.

The name selected should be one that suggests pride, courage and a strong competitive spirit and one that inspires the creation of effective imagery and logos for use in promotion and marketing efforts.

A pilot signifies pride, courage, and a competitive (and adventuresome) spirit. Some of the more famous pilots – Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Chuck Yeager – are considered national heroes.

In terms of effective imagery and logos, I feel it passes the test with flying colors. “Pilots” can be effectively combined with the existing crossed “ND” logo or on its own as a primary or secondary logo .

The marketing possibilities are nearly endless. The club sections could be hangars, the booster organization could become the Pilots Club (with varying degrees of membership: aviators, bombardiers, co-pilots, etc.), and I’m sure Honda would love to jump on board since its Honda Pilot looks great in green.

The name selected will be distinctive and, if possible, unique to our conference, region and nation.

Distinctive, yes. Unique, almost.

Two former teams have been called the Pilots: major league baseball’s Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers in 1970, while the ECHL’s Pensacola Ice Pilots reorganized and dropped to the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2008, becoming the Ice Flyers.

The University of Portland (Oregon) and LSU-Shreveport (Louisiana) athletic teams are both called the Pilots, while the Bethel College (Indiana) Pilots use a nautical theme for their logo. As far as I know, no other team competing at the collegiate level or higher is known as the Pilots or any derivative thereof. I have no problem with North Dakota being the fourth team in the nation (and first in our region) to be called the Pilots, given that the name fares so strongly in every other area.

There is an instant connection between the UND Pilots and the city of Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota (specifically its Aerospace program), and the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The Pilots is a team name that is ready for flight.

I recognize that no one name will resonate with all interested parties, and I expect that this idea will be no different. Please feel free to comment, dissect, offer alternatives, or avoid the discussion altogether. It’s up to you.

13 thoughts on “For your consideration: The University of North Dakota Pilots”

  1. The University of North Dakota Aviators would sound a little more spirited…

    How about North Dakota Pride?

  2. please do not even think of a new name. no need.
    University of North Dakota works just fine!

  3. I really do like anything aviation/flight related… Pilots, Aviators, Aeros, Flyers, Bombers, Bombardiers, etc. I understand that none of these are “Fighting Sioux”, but that’s not the point. We will be something else, so how do these names stack up to the alternatives?

  4. And as I mention in the original post (above), the new name will need to meet several criteria to be accepted. I think the group of names in this discussion fare very well across all categories The most important thing is that we should expect to be simply “North Dakota” for a while, but not forever.

  5. I like the University of North Dakota Butchers. Most of our adversaries are some type of animal like rodents, badgers, purple land cows, huskies,etc. This name could sure make for some funny t-shirts!

  6. I agree with Rich. I’m still hoping that the Fighting Sioux name will come back dow the road.Wishful thinking I know.

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