One of the best subsidiaries of March Madness and the ensuing "bracketology of everything" is Name of the Year (NOTY). Started in 1983 in an Ivy League dorm room, NOTY now features a 64-name bracket pitting the most outlandish-but-real names from around the world of sport and beyond in a winner-take-all battle royale for the title of "Name of the Year" as determined by reader votes. What does it take for a name to make it deep into the tournament? Who is the anonymous mad genius behind NOTY? And who are the favorites for this year's title?
We ask all these questions in our interview with The Chairman, the shadowy figure behind NOTY.
How's the wireless on your mysterious island fortress? I'd ask how the weather is, but I have no idea where you really are, or even your real name.
It is always sunny and 70 degrees in the Kingdom of NOTY. Crescent Dragonwagon cooks all the meals. Destiny Frankenstein coordinates athletic activities. Assumption Bulltron tends the gardens. And the Mingo rules with grace, benevolence and good humor.
Pleasantries dispensed with: how the hell are Charity Beaver and Lolita Respectnothing 16 seeds? Is the field that strong this year, or are the 16 seeds getting a break?
Those 16s were definitely hurt by some simmering biases on the Seeding Committee. Certain factions have tired of Native American names -- too contrived, the thinking goes -- while others disdain the cheap dick joke (which might explain how Iowa State assistant golf coach Pina Gentile was left off the ballot). But in retrospect, we agree. As I posted the other day, you can scoff at Respectnothing’s Native American surname, but Lolita is what makes her special. My sin, my soul. She should have been a four or five seed.
What fantastic monikers didn't make the cut?
Other than Pina Gentile? How much space do you have? Unlimited you say? Because our greatest sadness since taking NOTY online is that so many great names don’t get the exposure they deserve. Seriously, we could do this full time. We could do a NOTY and a NOTY2. We we could go to 128. Hell, we could go 256.
So: Wisconsin DB Prince Moody, South African consultant Rejoice Oldjohn, traffic fatality Leap Ouch, Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo, Youngstown State hooper Sirlester Martin, Florida meteorologist Casanova Nurse, cross-dressing Minnesota shoplifter Spiral Lightninghawk, Auburn LB Eltoro Freeman, South American travel agent Sassie Tickle, Maryland consultant Xerxes Aries V Labrador, Alliance for Retired Americans official Richard Fiesta, Wisconsin high-school hooper Leketreius Broomfield, South African traffic spokesman Xenophone Wentzel, WWII pilot Dick Bong, Shane Andrews girlfriend Brandy Box, high-school classmates Wynter Lastarria and SummerStarr Grey, Rutgers women’s hoopers Brooklyn Pope and Nikki Speed, Ohio criminal D’AlCapone AlPacino Morris, Central Michigan runner John Sourbeer, blind h.s. wrestler Dartanyan Crockett, Mississippi h.s. point guard Dundrecous Nelson, Australian soccer player Million Buttshire, accused Ohio killer Marvallous Keene, LSU’s own Quantavious Leslie, ACORN board member Pocahantas Outlaw, businessman Hugh Cockrill, movie camera operator Dick Mingalone, Taiwanese singer Angel Ho, Indiana politician Joe Schitter, football recruits (you figure out which schools) Freddie Smooth, Prince Shembo, Jazz King, X’Zavious Harrison, Da Da Brown, Admire Carter, Jerry Lovelocke, Vontaze Burfict, Ly’Ordrick Black, and our last bubble name -- and no doubt an EDSBS favorite -- Nu’Keese Richardson. I mean, come on, Nu’Keese. That is just awesome.
We have a reader question for you from "Ricky in L.A.": "Is betting on Name of the Year a violation of NCAA recruiting rules? Like, if you were a coach running an office pool for money? Not that I'd do that. Just asking, Ricky in LA."
God's Power Offor: 3:1 Nohjay Nimpson: 4:1 Spontaneous Gordon: 7:2 Pencilman Jeffries: 15:1 Shy Ely: 1,000,000:1
Do you get mail from people who actually get angry over this?
We do! But not as much as you might think. Last year we received a series of VERY ANGRY emails threatening LEGAL ACTION if we did not IMMEDIATELY REMOVE a name from consideration. We don’t believe there’s any legal issue in recording someone’s actual name on a website. But, oddly enough, we are sensitive to the fact that non-public people might not want their names held up as exemplars of unusual.
On the other hand, as a NOTY friend once said, if there’s a joke to be made about a name, it’s probably already been made.
Who are some NOTY fans of note we might not know about?
You didn’t see Obama filling out his bracket on C-SPAN the other day?
Have you actually heard from some of the participants?
We are like this with Destiny Frankenstein. She loved it. We were email buddies for weeks. She was lobbying her friends to vote for her and obsessively checking the voting. Last year, we also had a nice correspondence with runner-up Iris Macadangdang. And we had a classic back-and-forth a few years ago with 1993 NOTY Crescent Dragonwagon, in which she used the word "escutcheon."
Does it make you sad that last year's winner, Barkevious Mingo, now insists on being called "Kiki?"
To us, he will always be Barkevious the Impervious. We friended him from our NOTY Facebook page the other day. He accepted! All hail the Steampunk Emperor!