When the University of Toledo played then-powerful Carnegie Tech in football in 1923, Pittsburgh sports writers were surprised to learn that UT did not have a nickname.
Though an underdog, Toledo fought formidably, recovering a series of embarrassing fumbles by favored Tech. Pittsburgh writers pressed James Neal, a UT student working in the press box, to come up with a nickname.
Despite UT's 32-12 loss, the student labeled the team "Skyrockets," obviously impressed by his alma mater's flashy performance against a superior team. The sportswriters shortened the name to "Rockets," which has been used since.
Many suggestions for UT's nickname have been considered through the years, including a Spanish theme of Toreadors or Bulls, in honor of Toledo's sister relationship with the city's namesake in Spain. Others included Commodores, Turtles, Bancroft Highwaymen and Jeeps.
The nameless team was referred to as the Blue and Gold, Munies (for municipal university) and Dwyer's Boys (after head football coach James Dwyer) in sports stories prior to 1923.
In 1961, the University of Toledo procured a genuine rocket from the U.S. Army missile program. The one-ton rocket, which sits outside the Glass Bowl, carries two sets of fins and a propellant booster capable of guiding the missile to supersonic velocity. It was donated, in part, because of the university's affiliation with the Ordnance Corps of the U.S. Department of Army.