Orofino, Idaho, is home to State Hospital North, a mental health facility, at 300 Hospital Drive.
Many have mistakenly assumed that the city’s high school mascot — the Maniac — takes its name because of the nearby psychiatric hospital.
“The 1927 OHS basketball team is credited with being dubbed the ‘Maniacs’ while on an away game,” the Clearwater Tribune wrote in 2015. “Orofino, not having the resources to provide the players with basketball uniforms at the time, was the subject of the opposition’s teasing.
“Despite the ridicule, our players got out on the court and played a hard game — so much that the other team decided the Orofino players played and looked like a bunch of maniacs.”
The nickname stuck.
Although there is some opposition to the continued use of the name, the school remains steadfast about the unique mascot, declaring on its website: “Once a Maniac, always a Maniac.”
‘’Our understanding is that the hospital preceded the mascot, but there is no connection between the two,’‘ a school superintendent told The Lewiston Tribune in 1993 when the Idaho Alliance for the Mentally Ill asked that the Maniac mascot be discontinued. “The actual mascot was created in 1972, and according to the board, is not intended to depict a hospital patient enduring shock treatment.”
The mascot, as it appears today, was designed in 1972 with the help of former Orofino teacher, football coach and athletic director Jim Johnston. According to the Clearwater Tribune, Johnston “contacted the art teacher who drew the original Maniac, who had moved on to work as an artist for the FBI in Washington, D.C., and the logo was commissioned.”
Orofino isn’t the only Idaho high school with an unusual mascot.
There are also the Clark Fork Wampus Cats, Sugar-Salem Diggers, Camas County Mushers, Cascade Ramblers and Shelley Russets.
“Who wants to be something boring like a Bengal or Bear when you can be a Maniac?” an Orofino student told the Deseret News newspaper in 1990.