UT Knoxville Traditions
The University of 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’ to the “Power T” which is so famously recognized today. The Power T is the official athletic for all men’s sports. It should not be used in conjunction with Tennessee’s academic or University marks. Outlining the “Power T” is permitted depending on garment color, however double borders are not permitted excluding youth marks. Final approval remains at the discretion of the Trademark Licensing Office.
Origin of “Volunteers”
Tennessee acquired the name “The Volunteer State” during the War of 1812. At the request of President James Madison, General Andrew Jackson, who later became president himself, mustered 1,500 men from his home state to fight at the Battle of New Orleans. The name became even more prominent in the Mexican War when Governor Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered. The term “Volunteer State” 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 athletic teams.
Origin of “Lady Volunteers”
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.” The “Lady Vol T” is used for all women’s athletic teams and features a unique version of the Tennessee “Power T” in addition to “Lady Vol Blue” or Process Blue.
The colors Orange and White were selected by Charles Moore, a member of the first Tennessee football team in 1891, and were later approved by a vote by the student body. The colors were those of the common American daisy which grew in great numbers on “The Hill,” an area surrounding Ayres Hall. All products must be “Tennessee Orange”-Pantone 151. The thread color for Tennessee Orange is Madeira 1278.
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.” 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. 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.
Rocky Top is the unofficial Volunteers anthem since the UT band first played it in 1971. It was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967 in less than ten minutes in a hotel room in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The University of Tennessee does not own the rights to Rocky Top and cannot grant approval for its usage. While it has become synonymous with the University, additional permission must be granted by the House of Bryant.
House of Bryant Publication
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Orange and White Checkerboards
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 checkerboard end zones carry over to basketball, where the pattern appears on the baseline of the court at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Checkerboard mark must be made of PMS 151 Orange and white squares. Finished shapes of the checkerboard may be any rectangular shape so long as it is made of squares. Additionally, the checkerboard may not be made out of rectangles or any other shape.
The Vol Navy is a fleet of approximately two-hundred boats of all shapes and sizes that make up a giant floating tailgate party on the Tennessee River. Tennessee is one of the only three stadiums in the United States to be adjacent to a body of water. The Tennessee River provides a unique way for fans to experience game day, starting with a one of its kind way to arrive to Neyland Stadium—by boat! The Vol Navy logo features part of the Power T as the center of the anchor.
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. Since its induction, the program has maintained a long-standing reputation as one of the nation’s finest musical organizations. 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 85,000 spectators plus millions more on television. The “Pride of the Southland” has represented the state of Tennessee for the last forty years at ten consecutive Presidential Inaugurations, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush. The band has also made more than 40 bowl appearances. 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.”
Running through the “T”
Since 1964, The Pride of the Southland Band has formed a T on the field in which the football team traditionally runs through to enter the field at the beginning of each home football game.
I will give my all for Tennessee today!
Just before exiting the locker room to head into the tunnel and run through the ‘T’ created by the Pride of the Southland Band, the Volunteers touch the sign overhead that says: I will give my all for Tennessee today! The sign is shaped like the state of Tennessee and has become very symbolic for athletic teams to play for their University.
For generations, the Rock has been an unofficial message board for the UT Knoxville campus. The Rock is used to promote athletic events, celebrate people’s birthdays, etc. It is believe that students did not begin painting the Rock until the 1970s. Bill Dunne, professor of earth and planetary science and associate dean of the College of Engineering, took a small sample of the Rock in December 2007 for analysis and determine it is Knox dolomite, a common local rock that’s 500 million years old.