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Tennessee Traditions
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About the 'T'

Tennessee debuted the 'T' on its football helmets in 1964, Doug Dickey's first year as head football coach.

When Johnny Majors became head coach in 1977, he redesigned the 'T'.

The 'Power T' is the official Tennessee logo for all men's sports.

Origins of 'Volunteers'

As the state's land grant university, Tennessee draws its nickname from the name most associated with the state.

Tennessee acquired the name "The Volunteer State" during the War of 1812. At the request of President James Madison, Gen. Andrew Jackson, who later became President himself, mustered 1,500 from his home state to fight at the Battle of New Orleans.

The name became even more prominent in the Mexican War when Gov. Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered. Tennessee's color guard still wears dragoon uniforms of that era at all athletic events.

The term "Volunteer State," as noted through these two events, recognizes the long-standing tradition of Tennesseans to go above and beyond the call of duty when their country calls. The name "Volunteers" is often shortened to "Vols" in describing Tennessee's athletic teams.

Origins of 'Lady Volunteers'

Tennessee fans

Orange and white have been Tennessee's official colors since 1891.

The formation of the Women's Intercollegiate Athletics Department for the 1976-1977 academic year prompted much discussion concerning the proper nickname for women's teams. After long consideration and debate, it was decided the female student-athletes would be known as "Lady Volunteers," or simply the "Lady Vols."

As the state's land grant university, Tennessee draws its nickname from the name most associated with the state.

Tennessee acquired the name "The Volunteer State" during the War of 1812. At the request of President James Madison, Gen. Andrew Jackson, who later became President himself, mustered 1,500 from his home state to fight at the Battle of New Orleans.

The name became even more prominent in the Mexican War when Gov. Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered. Tennessee's color guard still wears dragoon uniforms of that era at all athletic events.

The term "Volunteer State," as noted through these two events, recognizes the long-standing tradition of Tennesseans to go above and beyond the call of duty when their country calls. The name "Volunteers" or "Lady Volunteers" is often shortened to "Vols" or "Lady Vols" when describing Tennessee's athletic teams.

School Colors

Tennessee Fans

Orange and white have been Tennessee's official colors since 1891.

Tennessee's orange and white colors were selected by Charles Moore, a member of the first football team in 1891. They were later approved by a student body vote.

The colors were those of the common American daisy which grew in profusion on The Hill, an area of campus surrounding Ayres Hall.

Tennessee football players did not wear orange jerseys until the season-opening game in 1922. Coach M.B. Banks' Vols won that game over Emory and Henry by a score of 50-0.

Smokey

The Pep Club held a contest in 1953 to select a coonhound, a native breed of the state, as the school's live mascot. Announcements of the contest in local newspapers read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dog' in the best sense of the word."

Smokey IX

Smokey IX began his reign at the 2004 Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

The late Rev. Bill Brooks entered his prize-winning blue tick coon hound, "Brooks' Blue Smokey," in the contest. At halftime of the Mississippi State game that season, the dogs were lined up on the old cheerleaders' ramp at Shields-Watkins Field. Each dog was introduced over the loudspeaker and the student body cheered for their favorite, with "Blue Smokey" being the last hound introduced. When his name was called, he barked. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and barked again. This kept going until the stadium was in an uproar and UT had found its mascot.

Rev. Brooks supplied UT with the line of canines until his death in 1986 when his wife, Mildred, took over the caretaking role. She did so until 1994, when her brother and sister-in-law, Earl and Martha Hudson of Knoxville, took over responsibility for Smokey VII and eventually Smokey VIII, with Smokey IX now carrying on the banner of the Smokey lineage. Mrs. Brooks died in July 1997.

One of the most beloved figures in the state, Smokey is famous for leading the Vols out of the giant 'T' prior to each home game.

Smokey II was dognapped by Kentucky students in 1955 and later survived a confrontation with the Baylor Bear at the 1957 Sugar Bowl. 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. Smokey III compiled a 105-39-5 record and two SEC championships. Smokey VI, who passed away in 1991, was on the sidelines for three SEC championships. Smokey VIII is the winningest Smokey, having compiled a record of 91-22 (.805), with two SEC titles and the 1998 national championship. The newest Smokey,ÂSmokey IX, began his post at the 2004 Peach Bowl.

Running Through the 'T'

Running Through the T

Since the 1964 season, Tennessee has entered the field at Neyland Stadium through a 'T' formed by the Pride of the Southland Band.

From the time of General Neyland through the 1963 season, the Vols had their team bench on the east side of the field, close to their dressing room which entered the field on the 50 yardline.

In 1965, Doug Dickey changed all that as the Vols opened the season against Army. He moved his team's bench to the west side, allowing the Vols to enter the field just before the opening kickoff through a giant "T" formed by the Pride of the Southland Band.

When the Vols moved to the new dressing room quarters under the north stands in 1983, the "T" remained, forming from north to south instead of east to west.

The "T" has occasionally been formed on the road, most notably at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville and at the 1986 and 1991 Sugar Bowls in New Orleans.

Rocky Top

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant's "Rocky Top," -- written in 10 minutes at the Gatlinburg Inn in 1967 âÂ" has captured the fancy of Vol fans everywhere and is a much-requested and much-played song at UT sporting events.

First performed as part of a halftime country music show at the 1972 Tennessee-Alabama game, the song attracted so much attention and is so beloved that long-time UT band directorW.J. Julian said that not playing it would cause a mutiny among Vol fans.

It's been described as "simplistic and clever," with five basic chords and title being repeated 19 times. Yet opposing coaches have mentioned the influence and impact of "Rocky Top" on their teams and their game preparations.

There have been more than 100 renditions of "Rocky Top" by individuals, country groups, bluegrass and even East Tennessee rock groups. "Rocky Top" was adopted as an official song of the state of Tennessee by Chapter 545 of the Public Acts of 1982.

Orange and White Checkerboards

Checkerboard End Zones

Tennessee's signature orange and white checkerboard end zones first appeared in 1964.

A Tennessee trademark from the mid-1960's was reinstated in 1989 with the installation of the orange and white checkerboard end zones on Shields-Watkins Field and continued with the return of grass.

The unique design accompanied coach Doug Dickey's arrival in 1964 when the Vols played Boston College. The colorful and popular end zones were a part of Tennessee football until 1968 when the natural sod was dug out and artificial turf was put in its place.

The checkboard end zones carry over to basketball, where the pattern appears on the baseline of the court at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Hill

Since the 1800s, "The Hill" has been symbolic of the higher education in the state of Tennessee. The University, founded in 1794 as Blount College moved to "The Hill" in 1828 and quickly grew around it.

The main part of UT's old campus stands on this rising bank above the north shore of the Tennessee River. Neyland Stadium sprawls at the base of The Hill, between it and the River.

Years of constant expansion and development have pushed the campus west of The Hill.ÂAyres Hall built in 1919, holds a commanding view over the campus and houses the College of Arts and Sciences, and still provides the most dynamic and recognizable scenes on campus.

Next to that building is the oldest building on campus, South College Hall, built in 1872. Today "The Hill" is the center of activity for the majors of natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences and engineering.

Vol Navy

Vol Navy

Hundreds of boaters gather and tailgate in the Tennessee River, making up the Vol Navy.

In 1962 former Vol broadcaster George Mooney found a quicker and more exciting way to get to Neyland Stadium other than fighting the notorious Knoxville traffic.

Mooney navigated his little runabout down the Tennessee River to the stadium and spawned what would later become the "Vol Navy."

Today, approximately 200 boats of all shapes and sizes make up this giant floating tailgate party on the river, and boats begin arriving days in advance of home games.

Tennessee, Washington and Pittsburgh are the only institutions whose stadiums are adjacent to bodies of water.

Pride of the Southland Band

The University of Tennessee band was organized immediately after the Civil War when the University reopened. Since then, the enrollment in the band program has grown to more than 400 students (in all bands) from all colleges of the university.

The band program is divided into several different units. The most famous of these units is the marching band, The full "Pride of the Southland Band," appears at all home football games and most out-of-town games before more than 850,000 spectators plus millions more on television.

The "Pride of the Southland" has represented the state of Tennessee for the last 40 years at ten consecutive Presidential Inaugurations, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush. The band has also made more than 40 bowl appearances, including the Sugar Bowl, Astro Bluebonnet Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Gator Bowl, Hall of Fame Bowl, Garden State Bowl, Sun Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and the Rose Bowl.

When the UT Marching Band takes the field, the crowd reaction truly indicates that it is not only the Pride of all Tennesseans, but the "Pride of the Southland."

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