The Yuma High School athletic teams are known as 'the Criminals', or "Crims'. One story is, in 1913, the Yuma football team traveled to Phoenix to play the 'Coyotes'. Yuma won. Someone said it was 'criminal' the way Yuma won. The Coyotes supposedly began to call the Yuma team 'Criminals'. They Yuma H.S. website says that at first, 'Criminals' was a fighting word, but by 1917 they had become proud of the nickname and officially adopted it.
The other story is that they were called by that nickname because in 1910 the school moved into the newly abandoned Arizona Territorial Prison. They had been sharing the Main Street school with the elementary school, but it was just too crowded. For three years, teachers taught classes in the cells, and assemblies were held in the second story hospital which had recently housed tuberculosis patients, among others. Then, in 1912 or '13, a bond election was held, and passed, and construction on the new high school was begun. In 1913, school began in the newly built 'Main' building. Houses quickly started to spring up around the school, which was out to the west of town (in the boonies, so to speak).
Yuma High students and alumni are very proud of their nickname, and its uniqueness. Several of the homes around the school have the Crim logo (a blue 'tough' guys face. To me, it looks like he's sneering or growling.) painted at the bottom of their driveways.
Submitted by Lorna