By: Brad Pope
America's favorite sideline reporter with the First Dog of Tennessee.
Tennessee’s mascot, the blue tick coonhound named Smokey, is one of the most well known mascots in college sports. Since 1953 the live hound has been leading the Volunteer football team through the T and onto the football field. Every Fall Saturday in Neyland Stadium Smokey flies out of the tunnel when the marching band parts to form the T, straining his neck on his collar.
In 1953 Tennessee students decided they wanted a hound dog mascot to go with their Davy Crockett mascot, a student in a coonskin hat and a buckskin suit. Fliers were distributed across the city of Knoxville seeking entries to be judged during the Mississippi State game that season. The fliers read, “This can’t be an ordinary hound. He must be a ‘Hound Dawg’ in the best sense”.
Bill and Mildred Brooks decided to enter their dog, “Brooks’ Blue Smokey” into the contest. The dog that got the loudest cheers during halftime was going to be named the winner. Smokey barked and the crowd would cheer. Then he barked again and the crowd got louder. Finally, Smokey howled to the cheering of the Volunteer faithful and that was the end of the contest.
While remaining a fan friendly hound over the years, Smokey has also seen his times of mischief, and he has had many interesting adventures. Smokey II was stolen by Kentucky fans in 1955, later to be returned by kickoff. Smokey II was also involved in an incident with Baylor Bears’ mascot “Judge” at the 1957 Sugar Bowl. Smokey VI was the first time that Smokey had made the Volunteer injury report after suffering from heat exhaustion in the UCLA game in 1991. Smokey was also in an incident with an Alabama player in 2006 when he tried to bite the Crimson Tide player during warm-ups.
Today, the Volunteers have both a live Smokey and a costume Smokey. Smokey has gained fame across the country by competing in national mascot competitions and appearing in the Capital One commercials. Smokey has always been a fan favorite on Rocky Top and his antics are quite the sight to see in Neyland Stadium. For SEC fans, it is a must to see the live coonhound lead the Vols through the T just prior to kick off.
# 69- Walk of Champions-Ole Miss
# 70- Dawg Walk-Mississippi State
# 71- Drink Gatorade in the Swamp-Florida
# 72- Chant S-E-C-SEC
# 73- Bear Bryant Museum-Alabama
# 74- Bubba Hog-Arkansas
# 75- Tailgating Outside Death Valley-LSU
# 76- Nova’s Pre-Game Flight-Auburn
# 77- Death to the BCS-SEC
# 78- Oxford Square-Ole Miss
# 79- Sorority Row-Alabama
# 80- Pancake Pantry-Vanderbilt
# 81- Cowbells-Mississippi State
# 82- Weaver D’s-Georgia
# 83- Rupp Arena-Kentucky
# 84- Senior Walk-Arkansas
# 85- God and Football-SEC
# 86- Balleyhoo’s Bananas Foster-Florida
# 87- Behind the Scenes with Mike the Tiger-LSU
# 88- Signing Day at the Blind Pig-Georgia
# 89- Vol Navy-Tennessee
# 90- Rammer Jammer-Alabama
# 91- Cocky and 25 Seconds-South Carolina
# 92- Golden Girls-LSU
# 93- Jerry World-SEC
# 94- Jumbotron-Mississippi State
# 95- Battle Hymn-Georgia
# 96- Feltner’s Whatta Burger-Arkansas
# 97- Ole Miss Student Section-Ole Miss
# 98- “It’s Football Time in Tennessee”- Tennessee
# 99- 2 Bits-Florida
# 100- Momma G’s Nachos-Auburn
Leave a Reply