Smokey (mascot)

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Smokey
BTSmokey.JPG
Smokey IX
University University of Tennessee
Conference SEC
Description Bluetick Coonhound
First seen 1953
Hall of Fame 2008
Both Smokeys run in the end zone. Notice that the costumed Smokey has a distinctive orange coat.

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 a costumed version of Smokey.

There is an actual Bluetick Coonhound mascot, Smokey X, which leads the Vols on the field for football games. The hound is cared for by the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity on the University of Tennessee campus. There is also a costumed mascot that appears at every Vols game and has won several mascot championships. The costumed Smokey has a female counterpart that appears at the women's athletic events.[1]

Smokey was selected as the mascot for Tennessee after a student poll in 1953. A contest was held by the Pep Club that year. Their desire was to select a coon hound that was native to Tennessee. At halftime of the Mississippi State game that season, several hounds were introduced for voting. "Blue Smokey", owned by a Rev. Bill Brooks was the last, and howled loudly when introduced. The students cheered and Smokey became the mascot. The most successful of the live dogs was Smokey VIII who saw a record of 91-22, two SEC titles and 1 National Championship.[1]

The mascot has gained fame for competing in national mascot competitions and appearing in the Capital One National Commercials. The live hound has been featured in television news segments.[1]

Smokey II was dognapped by Kentucky students in 1955 and was involved in an incident with the Baylor Bears' mascot Judge at the 1957 Sugar Bowl. Smokey VI was the first dog to make the Volunteer injury report after suffering heat exhaustion in the 1991 UCLA game. Smokey III compiled a 105-39-5 record and two SEC championships. Smokey VI, who died 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. Smokey IX began his post at the 2004 Peach Bowl and was retired in 2012. The newest Smokey, Smokey X, started in 2013. [2]The costumed mascot made it to the quarterfinals of the 2006 Capital One Mascot Challenge.[1] The costumed Smokey's body is black, leading to occasional misidentifications as the more familiar black and tan coonhound. However, his white blaze firmly identifies him as a bluetick coonhound.[3]

In 2012 the University of Tennessee Press published a book about Smokey's history, written by Tennessee sports historian Tom Mattingly and Smokey's owner Earl Hudson.[4][5]

Reigns[edit]

DOG YEARS
Blue Smokey 1953–1954
Smokey II 1955–1964
Smokey III 1965–1977
Smokey IV 1978–1979
Smokey V 1980–1983
Smokey VI 1984–1991
Smokey VII 1992–1994
Smokey VIII 1995–2003
Smokey IX 2004–2012
Smokey X 2013[6]–present

References[edit]

  • 2006 University of Tennessee Football Media Guide