The ‘Blue Devils’ is the name of the sports teams (baseball, basketball, etc.) at Duke University in North Carolina (USA).
Anything Blue review – Go Blue Devils!
When Americans speak about the ‘Blue Devils’, they either refer to the drum and bugle corps (a performing entertainment club with competitions since 1957) or to a school’s sports team.
Originally, the Blue Devils come from to North Carolina’s state college’s sports teams at Duke University; over the years, many high schools in America and Australia have named their sports team ‘Blue Devils’ as well, but only Duke’s college team is famous nationwide.
Duke’s Blue Devils basketball team is famous for its lead coach Mike Krzyzewski, also known as ‘Coach K’, and for the 71 players who made it to the NBA draft.
Why did Duke’s teams decide to go for the name of ‘Blue Devils’?
The answer goes back to the first World War and USA’s support to the French army, as you will read below is an extract from the university’s website.
‘The origin of Duke’s Blue Devil is one of the most often requested items of information in the University Archives […]
During World War I the Chasseurs Alpins, nicknamed “les Diables Bleus,” were well known French soldiers. They first gained attention when their unique training and alpine knowledge was counted upon to break the stalemate of trench warfare in their native region of the French Alps. Unfortunately the Vosges Campaign in March, 1915, failed to alter the status quo even though the Blue Devils won accolades for their courage. However, their distinctive blue uniform with flowing cape and jaunty beret captured public imagination.
When the United States entered the war, units of the French Blue Devils toured the country helping raise money in the war effort. Irving Berlin captured their spirit in song describing them as “strong and active, most attractive . . . those Devils, the Blue Devils of France. […]
William H. Lander, as editor-in-chief, and Mike Bradshaw, as managing editor of the Trinity Chronicle began the academic year 1922-23 referring to the athletic teams [of Duke University, North Carolina, USA] as the Blue Devils. Their class had been the first post-war freshmen and the student body was full of returning veterans so the name needed no explanation.
Acknowledging that it was somewhat unpopular, they nevertheless believed it to be the best name nominated.’
Looking for a Blue Devil T-shirt or mug? + more about The Story of the Blue Devils @GoDuke.com, the Official Website of Duke’s Athletics
Featured image source: Duke Blue Devil @gopixnic