A History Lesson on Smokey
Prior to 1953, The University of Tennessee did not have a live mascot to claim as their own. When the missing piece was realized, the student body decided to hold open auditions during a halftime show. As the animals were paraded in front of countless fans, only one stood out from the rest. Rev. Bill Brook’s Bluetick Coonhound, Blue Smokey, had stolen the show as his howls lit up the field and drove the crowd wild. It was clear, the Vols had chosen their mascot.
Ever since that day, Smokey has been a staple to The University of Tennessee athletics, moral and community for 70 years and counting. From leading the football team out of the “T” to showing love to adoring fans across campus whenever he finds time, Smokey is a constant in the ever changing world. Smokey’s bloodline has resided in East Tennessee between their loving owners and fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho for decades. The playful pup can be found at the fraternity house on fall weekends or being walked through campus by the brothers.
Ever since that historical day in September of 1953, the beloved Smokey has rallied fans and brought hope to countless fans. In March of 2019, Governor Bill Lee officially named the Bluetick Breed the official state dog of Tennessee. While it may just now be official, Vol fans have felt it for generations. Ultimately, we owe it all to Smokey and his endless loyalty.
Here at Volunteer Traditions, we are huge Smokey fans! We cannot contain our excitement as Smokey XI prepares to make his debut in just a few days. There is nothing like screaming Rocky Top as the iconic pup of the south races through the checkerboard. We wish you many years of health and happiness as you uphold what generations of blueticks have built.
Happy National Dog Day Smokey XI!
Shop the Bluetick Collection inspired by this beloved hound!