Top College Football Traditions: Smokey and the Tennessee Volunteers

tennessee_volunteers_smokeySmokey has Been Part of the Tennessee Football Tradition for 60 years
The Tennessee Volunteers mascot, Smokey, is a Bluetick Coonhound.   Smokey has been a staple in Rocky Top since “Blue Smokey” in 1953. Wikipedia tells that The University of Tennessee chose their mascot based on a student poll conducted that year.  The results of the vote indicated the student body wanted a coon hound that was a Tennessee native.

A Contest was Held
During halftime of Tennessee’s home game against Mississippi State during the ’53 season, a number of hounds were introduced to the Tennessee Pep Club for voting. The last dog to audition, known as “Blue Smokey” howled loudly as he was introduced.  The Vols faithful found the outburst endearing, therefore Blue Smokey was selected to be the official mascot of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Smokey IX Will Be On The Tennessee Sideline This Weekend
In the six decades that have followed, eight other Bluetick Coonhounds have carried on the Smokey name.  “Smokey IX” holds the current honors, having been introduced in 2004.  Other than Uga, Smokey is my favorite mascot in college football.  I love dogs and the Dawgs equally.

The video below offers a more personal view of Smokey the Tennessee mascot.