|The University of Tennessee has a tremendous fan base that bleeds UT Orange. Whether it's singing "Rocky
Top" or tailgating with the Volunteer Navy, you'll find more orange than you can imagine in Newyland Stadium
TENNESSEE NICKNAME: VOLUNTEERS
Ever since the early days of the 19th century when General Andrew Jackson formed large armies
from his home state to fight the Indians and later the British down at the Battle of New Orleans,
Tennessee has been know as the "Volunteer State."
The name was reinforced to an even larger scale when 30,000 Tennessee volunteers answered
the call to fight against Santa Ana's troops in the Mexican War. The University of Tennessee drew
the nickname for its athletic teams from this state nickname. However, the University's teams are
often referred to as the "Vols."
TENNESSEE MASCOTS: TWO SMOKEYS AND DAVEY CROCKETT
Until 1953, UT's mascot was all "no bark and no bite." The reason was simply because the
University didn't have a live mascot to help support it teams. That year a student poll suggested
that they wanted a mascot and the UT Pep Club began the selection process.
Any drama concerning the type of animal that would be featured quickly faded when it was
announced that the chosen mascot would be a coon hound, a breed native to the state. However
as the school paper noted, "This can't be an ordinary hound." He must be a 'Houn' Dawg' in the
best sense of the word."
The late Rev. W.C. Brooks entered his blue tick hound, Smokey, into the hound dog competition
that took place during half time of a 1953 home game. The hound put on such a crowd pleasing
performance that the fans were quick to jump on top of old Smokey for their choice.
The competing dogs were lined up on the old cheerleaders' ramp and then introduced one at a
time over the loudspeakers. When it was Smokey's turn he received the loudest cheers after he
barked when his name was called out. Upon hearing the crowd's response Smokey howled
again. The sequence of howling and cheering gained momentum until the whole stadium was
rocking. That day a star and the new UT mascot were born.
When Smokey trotted away from his mascot role, Rev. Brooks continued to supply the school with
a line of "Smokeys" until his death in 1986. His wife Mrs. Mildred Brooks and family friends now
oversee the dog's daily care.
Throughout the years the line of Smokeys have had their dog day afternoons. Smokey II was dog
napped by Kentucky students in 1955 and then survived an unpleasant altercation with the Baylor
bear at the 1956 Sugar Bowl. The 140 degree on the field temperature caused Smokey VI to
suffer heat exhaustion during the 1991 UCLA game. The mascot was listed on the Vol's injury
report until he returned later in the season.
Smokey VIII continued the blue tick tradition when he became UT's top dog in 1995. Cloaked in
Tennessee's colors, he is famous for leading the Big Orange out of the giant "T" before each
home game. Elvis once echoed the song, "You ain't nothin but a hound dog," but Vol fans can
proudly exclaim, "you ain't ever caught a rabbit, but you are a friend of mine."
Donning much less fur, a costumed version of Smokey also patrols the UT sidelines. Whether he’
s leading cheers or teaming up with UT’s original mascot, Davey Crockett, this two-legged adds
much bark to the Vol’s mascot bite.
A musket toting, frontier style dressed student named Davey Crockett holds the rank of UT”s most
established mascot tradition. (Brian Lanius) The mascot name salutes the “volunteer” ethic that
helped Tennessee develop its reputation of helping others. “We are the Volunteer State
|Tennessee Vols Traditions and Gameday Gear
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for the biggest Football Saturdays
|You Ain't Nuthin' But a Hound Dog!
Since 1953 the Smokey tradition at Tennessee has given
fans plenty howl about. The Bluetick hound first filled the
University's mascot role and was followed by the costumed
|I Can't Hear Yoooou!
The tradition of Vols fans singing "Rocky Top" at opportune
moments such as a first down, touchdown, turnover, etc.,
keeps the decible level high in Neyland Stadium.
Head Coach Doug Dickey introduced the Checkerboard
end zone concept to Neyland Stadium in 1964. With the
introduction of artificial turf to the stadium, the tradition
disappeared for a few years, but returned in 1989
when natural grass was reintroduced as the playing
surface in 1989.
One of the most unusual sights in collegiate tailgating is
found outside Neyland Stadium as more than 200 orange
and white decorated boats anchor along the Tennessee
River within the shadows of the football stadium.
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER FIGHT SONG: “ROCKY TOP”
One of the best know fight or rally songs is the one that echoes throughout
the tremendous double decked bowl known as Neyland Stadium. Whenever the
Volunteers score or another joyous occasion arises, the UT band cranks up
"Rocky Top" and the following words are expressed.
"....Rocky Top, you'll always be
home sweet home to me:
Good ol' Rocky Top:
Rocky Top Tennessee:
Rocky Top Tennessee."
Needless to say, when more than 100,000 fans sing along, the song is delivered in a thunderous