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 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.
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 one National Championship.
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.
Smokey II was dognapped by University of 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 game against UCLA. 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. The costumed mascot made it to the quarterfinals of the 2006 Capital One Mascot Challenge. The costumed Smokey's body is black, leading to occasional misidentification as the more familiar Black and Tan Coonhound. However, his white blaze firmly identifies him as a bluetick coonhound.