Smokey – University of TN

smokey-and-mike-tn   Smokey is the mascot of the University of Tennessee sports teams. These teams, named “The Volunteers” and nicknamed “the Vols”, use both a live and costumed version of Smokey. There is an actual Bluetick Coonhound mascot, Smokey X, who leads the Vols on the field for football games. The Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity cares for the hound on the UT campus. There is also a costumed mascot that appears at every game and has won several mascot championships. 

In 1953, UT Pep Club held a contest to select a coonhound, a breed native to TN, to serve as the school’s live mascot. The late Rev. W. C. “Bill” Brooks entered his prize-winning bluetick coonhound – “Brooks’ Blue Smokey.” The student body elected Rev. Brooks’ coondog when the dog howled after being presented and cheered on by his new fans.

Smokey IX began his post at the 2004 Peach Bowl and was retired in 2012. He was known to be somewhat feisty and in 2006, bit an Alabama player during pregame warm-ups. an ESPN article said a Crimson Tide receiver fell on the dog when the player jumped out of bounds for a pass. AL said that Smokey bit the player; UT said Smokey only nipped, getting a little of the receiver’s uniform but not breaking the man’s skin. He also took a nip at one of UT’s own: running on the field after halftime of the Vols’ game against Georgia State, he nipped a backup long snapper on the hip. 

Smokey X, the current Smokey mascot, made his debut in 2013. During the week he lives with Earl Hudson and his family – the brother-in-law of Rev. Brooks, the original owner of Smokey.  He is the first Smokey not descended from the original Smokey bloodline, but he is the first from a new Tennessee-born and bred bloodline.  He is still handled by members of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and spends the weekend in the fraternity house for home games.

The costumed version of Smokey made his debut in the 1980’s. His costume was designed as a cartoon-like orange and white dog who would often drink orange juice out of a bottle to cool down, mostly because of the color of the drink. In 1988, Smokey’s new, more realistic look featured a black body and led to occasional misidentification as the more familiar Black and Tan Coonhound.  However, his white blaze firmly identifies him as a Bluetick Coonhound. He typically wears a TN jersey bearing the number “00”. Smokey is joined at most events by his six-year old little brother, Junior Smokey, who serves as the “kiddie” mascot. Junior typically wears a jersey with the number “1/2” on it. In 2015, Junior Smokey was named “Mascot of the Year” at the World Dog Awards in Los Angeles. 

Charles Moore, president of the university’s athletic association, chose orange and white for the school colors on April 12, 1889. His inspiration is said to have come from orange and white daisies which grew on the Hill. To this day, there are still orange and white flowers grown outside the University Center. UT’s official colors are UT Orange (Pantone 151), White, and Smokey Gray (Pantone 426).

UT is known as the “Volunteer State” for the large number of Tennesseans who voluntered for duty in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. A UT athletic team was dubbed the Volunteers for the first time in 1902 by the Atlanta Constitution following a football game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Next week’s blog features the Arkansas Razorbacks. 

About Ruthie Curtis

About Ruthie I am a real estate agent in Columbus, GA and love my “job.” I enjoy being associated with the professionals at Bickerstaff Parham Real Estate and the folks that I come in contact with each and every day. I basically just love houses and all that is associated with them. It is so rewarding to help buyers and sellers reach their goals and to be a part of the process that makes it happen. I especially love gardens and how they can work to improve a property both in aesthetics and function. As a Master Gardener, I feel that I can add another dimension to the home buying and selling process. Partnered with my love of creatively doing the “what if we” changes to houses and my attention to detail, I can offer my clients a well-rounded approach to meeting their real estate needs while having some fun along the way. I have lived in Columbus for the past 25 years and have been actively involved in the community. My involvements include being the 1996 Race Director for the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens; a past board member of Girls,Inc and the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA); a board member of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the Columbus Botanical Garden, the Chattahoochee Valley Camellia Society, and is a member of the Women’s Reading Club of Columbus and the Overdue Book Club. I am a member of St. Luke United Methodist Church where I serve on the Altar (10) I am a UGA Bulldawg – having grown up in Athens and attended the University of Georgia where I received a BA degree in Advertising. I have two daughters, two great son-in-laws, five grandchildren and a Jack Russell Terrier named Jasper. I live in the historic Overlook area in Columbus where I recently purchased an older home and enjoyed the experience of putting my creative knowledge and skills to work!
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