There's one constant in Neyland Stadium for every home game. Smokey.
UT's live mascot was selected in 1953 by the student body during halftime of the Mississippi State game. The breed of dog, Bluetick Coonhound, is native to Tennessee and was also chosen via a polling by the Pep Club. To select the first mascot, 'contestants' were led out by their handlers and fans were instructed to cheer for their favorite dog.
The last hound, "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. 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 the fans a great sense of pride when they see him leading the Football team out of the T on Saturdays.
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.
We are huge Smokey fans at Volunteer Traditions. One of our employees handled Smokey while he was at UT [that's him with the leash above] so it's understood just how important he is and we felt it was time to use our favorite canine on a shirt. The Vintage Smokey logo we use originally appeared in the 80's and sets us apart from other shirts out there. Plus, he's wearing an awesome sweater.
Products with Smokey are available for purchase below: