St Mary’s University Gaels
The Saint Mary’s Gaels are the athletic teams that compete at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California. The nickname applies to the college’s intercollegiate NCAA Division I teams and to the school’s club sports teams. Most varsity teams compete in the West Coast Conference.
The Gaels name
“The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group which spread from Ireland to Scotland and the Isle of Man. Their language is of the Gaelic (Goidelic) family, a division of Insular Celtic languages. The word in English was adopted in 1810 from Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal (compare Irish Gaedhealg and Old Irish Goídeleg) to designate a Highlander (OED). Gael or Goídeleg was first used as a collective term to describe people from Ireland; it is thought to have come from Welsh Gwyddel (Old Welsh Goídel), originally “raider”, now “Irish person”. Many people who do not speak Gaelic consider themselves to be ‘Gaels’ in a broader sense because of their ancestry and heritage.”
The nickname was given to the school’s football team (now discontinued) in 1926 by Pat Frayne, a writer for the now defunct San Francisco Call-Bulletin. The school’s previous nickname was the Saints, although the baseball team was known as the Phoenix until the 1940s