The College of Charleston was founded in 1770.

The notion of renaming the school Charleston University George Street Campus is of much more recent vintage - a misguided consequence of the proposed merger of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Christopher Day, an assistant professor of political science at The College (as opposed to a college), aptly condemned the suggested Charleston University George Street Campus title as "absurd" in a guest column on Monday's Commentary page.

But before assuming that this would be the first name change in the historic institution's history, remember that C of C teams used to be known as the "Maroons." The College changed that nickname to "Cougars" after students voted to do so during the 1970-71 school year.

And despite the initial identity crisis that ensued, "the College of Charleston Cougars" pretty soon had a nice ring to it - and still does.

So does "the North Charleston High School Cougars."

Yet way back when Warren Peper, now my distinguished Post and Courier colleague, was a star guard at that high school, he took his shots for the North Charleston Blue Devils. Peper then took his game to what was then Baptist College. That school turned into Charleston Southern University in 1990 - though it lies north of Charleston.

Still, "CSU Buccaneers" does make more sense than "Baptist Buccaneers."

Back to the C of C: Eight years after the Maroon monicker was retired, the College wisely hired John Kresse as men's basketball coach. He won nearly 80 percent of his games over the next 23 seasons, capturing the 1983 NAIA national title and making four NCAA tournaments.

Persisting trauma

But just because the College of Charleston has fared much better in basketball as the Cougars than as the Maroons doesn't mean it would fare well as something other than the College of Charleston.

And just because Clemson University's agriculture department has a proud tradition doesn't mean you should call my alma mater "Moo U."

Nor should you call Florida State University (FSU) "Free Shoes University," as then-Florida coach Steve Spurrier first did two decades ago, poking fun at a scandal about improper gifts of footwear.

Such ridicule hurts the feelings of not just college grads, but colleges' sports fans.

Even many uneducated non-sports fans suffer enduring psychic pain inflicted by cruel mockery of their names.

For instance, how would have you liked it if, during your vulnerable youth, other kids repeatedly called you "Rat Fink" after your first two initials of "R.F."?

Back to 2014: Though Spurrier has finally made the University of South Carolina a football power, it retains identity challenges of its own. Call it "South Carolina" and it sounds like the state instead of its namesake school. Call it "USC" and it sounds, to most Americans, like the University of Southern California.

Closer to home, The Citadel is The Military College of South Carolina.

But it also has been derisively tagged "Sing Sing on the Ashley," which likens cadet victims of harsh hazing to inmates of the notorious New York State prison.

Back in the sporting arena, ever-shifting cultural perceptions occasionally require kicking nicknames off of teams. A small sampling:

What used to be the Elon (N.C.) College (now University) Fighting Christians became the Elon Phoenix in 2001. Newberry College, just north of Columbia, bowed to NCAA pressure in 2010 and shifted from "Indians" to "Wolves."

But Florida State teams are still the Seminoles. And the Rebels still play for Ole Miss, where the school band still plays "Dixie" during home football games.

The Citadel band does not.

Those were the days

Back to the other longtime college on the peninsula:

Prof. Day is quite right to hail "the College of Charleston" as a "beautiful, elegant name, which is also fitting for our beautiful, elegant city."

Meanwhile, some longtime locals, including me, still miss these high school and team names long lost to time's relentless shuffle:

St. Andrews Rocks ... C.A. Brown Panthers ... Moultrie Generals ... Bonds-Wilson Cobras ... Charleston Bantams ...

And yes, many readers still long for the James Island Rams, whose nickname changed to Trojans when the school merged with Fort Johnson High in 1982.

Yet the Ram Room was still open for business.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is