Until 1953, UT’s mascot was all “no bark and no bite.” Believe it or not the Tennessee Vols did not have a mascot to support its team. So that year the UT pep club decided they wanted a Mascot and the selection process was started.
Soon afterwards it was announced that the TN Mascot would be a coon hound, a breed native to the state of Tennessee. Of course. there were some out of state vol pep team members that disagreed with a coon dog names Smoky as the mascot. However, as the school paper at the time noted, “This can’t be an ordinary hound”. Smoky must be a barking, yelping, enthusiastic hound dog at it’s best.
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. (Click below to see video)
The competing dogs were lined up on the old cheerleaders’ ramp and then were introduced one at a time over the loudspeakers of the stadium. 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 Vols 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.
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.”
Smokey has been a constant in Neyland Stadium since 1953
Many long time Vols fan remember the day Smoky was introduced to Big Orange fans for the first time. I have heard the stories, as you probably have.
"Brooks Blue Smokey", was led up to the cheerleader's ramp to be seen by everyone in attendance. The announcers called Blue Smokey's name and he howled. The crowd cheered. The dog howled even louder. The crowd and dog continued going back and forth until the stadium was in an absolute frenzy. It was clear, the Vols finally had a live mascot to call their own.
Ever since that night Smokey has been a part of UT Tradition and a staple for sports. Today, the dogs are chosen not from a specific bloodline, but to avoid any inbreeding issues are selected based on appearance and temperament. They are beautiful dogs and give Tennessee fans a great sense of pride when they see Smokey leading the Football team out of the T on Saturdays.
Smokey 10, the tenth dog to be given the title, has been reigning his domain since 2013 and will continue to do so for many years to come. here's one constant in Neyland Stadium for every home game: Smokey.
Smokey X, the tenth dog to be given the title, has been reigning his domain since 2013 and will continue to do so for many years to come.
SMOKY HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR MASCOTS IN SPORTS HISTORY
Tennessee's favorite dog has been named one of the "greatest mascots in college football history" — but that's something Vol fans already knew.
Sports Illustrated ranked UT's Smokey (the actual dog, not the costume) No. 10 on the list.
"Prior to home games the entire Volunteers football team is led onto the field by Smokey, a bluetick coonhound," the magazine wrote. "Smokey X — the current pooch and the first not to descend directly from the original Smokey, who took on mascot duties in 1953 — resides with the Hudson family during the week, then hangs out at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house on game days."
UT recently celebrated Smokey by adding statues of each dog around campus. Tennessee's love for Smokey became official, when the bluetick coonhound was named the official state dog of Tennessee by Gov. Bill Lee.
The University of Oregon's Duck, Louisiana State University's Mike the Tiger and the University of Texas' Bevo the bull also got mentions on the list.
Tennessee fans won't be happy to hear who the No. 1 spot was given to. The University of Georgia's Uga the bulldog took the top ranking. Like Smokey, there have been 10 Uga's who take part in gameday traditions. But a Georgia Bull Dog, are you kidding me. Nobody can compare with Smoky!
Smoky is the best mascot, every Vol knows that and so does Smoky. Smoky has bot swag!
2018 Vols Football Celebrates 65 Years of Smokey
The 2018 season marked the 65th anniversary of Smokey, the bluetick hound that has come to embody the University of Tennessee.
Tom Mattingly, who detailed the history of Smokey in his book, “Smokey: The True Stories Behind the University of Tennessee’s Beloved Mascot,” said the tradition began when fans chose between 19 different dogs to become the official mascot.
When the crowd saw a bluetick hound owned by a man named Reverend Brooks, it erupted with applause.
"The crowd went crazy,” Mattingly said. “The dog started barking, the crowd went crazier, the dog kept barking and there was no doubt that this would be the mascot.”
“So ordained the next week, at the Duke game, and there's been a Smokey on campus, on a handshake basis between Reverend Brooks and Stuart Worden, ever since," Mattingly added.
After ten generations of Smokeys, the same family carries on the commitment of caring for Tennessee’s mascot.
"That's the way UT people are,” Mattingly said. “They're committed to the program. Fans, even though things aren't going the way we would like, the fans are still committed, football is still important, the band, Smokey, the whole deal. As a Tennessee historian, it's amazing to go back and look at this."
Smokey will resume his role leading the Vols out of the tunnel and through the “T”.
10 INTERESTING FACT REGARDING SMOKY THE TENNESSEE VOLS WORLD FAMOUS MASCOT
We will end this History of Smoky with 10 facts every Tennessee Vols fan should know about Smoky that we found over at The Tennessean
1) He was selected in 1953, during a contest to select a live mascot for the school. Announcements for the contest read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dog' in the best sense of the word." At halftime of the Mississippi State game, the contenders were brought onto the field. The last dog announced was Brooks' Blue Smokey, who barked when his name was called. The students burst into applause, which only made Smokey howl louder. Tennessee had its mascot.
2) Smokey has had some interesting adventures over the years. Smokey II was dognapped by Kentucky students in 1955 and later survived a confrontation with the Baylor Bear at the 1957 Sugar Bowl.
3) Smokey VI, who suffered heat exhaustion in the 140-degree temperatures at the 1991 UCLA game, was listed on the Vols injury report until he returned later in the season. He was on the sidelines for three SEC championships.
4) Smokey VIII is the winningest Smokey, having compiled a record of 91-22 (.805), with two SEC titles and the 1998 national championship.
5) n 2006, Smokey IX nipped an Alabama player during pregame warm-ups. The Tide faithful claimed the dog bit the receiver after he fell on him while running out of bounds for a pass. UT said the dog just got a bite of uniform, not skin.On game days and for his official mascot duties,
6) Smokey is handled by members of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. For home games, he usually spends the weekend in the fraternity house on UT's campus.
7) During the week, Smokey X is a pampered pooch who lives with Charles and Cindy Hudson. He is the 1st Smokey not descended from the original Smokey bloodline, but he is the first from a new Tennessee born and bred bloodline.
8) When Smokey X was two months old, he was 26 pounds. He was so much bigger than the rest of the puppies, the breeder, Wendy Davis of Davis Branch Blueticks, knew she'd found the right dog!
9) Smokey X gets his size from his daddy, Pokey Joe, weighing 90 pounds, but his howl, that infamous bluetick bawl, is courtesy of mom, Little Lucy LuLu.
10) Smokey X is already siring the next generation of little Smokeys, with his mate-for-life, Goodnight Gracie.