L.H. Gregory, sports editor of The Oregonian, has been credited with coining Webfoots as the school's athletic nickname, even though the students had seen themselves as such since the turn of the century. Headline writers searching for ways to parse Webfoots into their sports pages began churning out Ducks, which the students eventually voted as their new nickname over Timberwolves and Lumberjacks.
A second student-body election in 1932 beat back the challenges of Trappers, Pioneers, Yellowjackets and Spearsmen, the latter in honor of football coach C.W. Spears, who left before the '32 season for a similar post at Wisconsin.