Must Know Tid-bits about the University of Tennessee Vols

Must Know Tid-bits about the University of Tennessee Vols – Check out these tid-bit facts about the University of Tennessee football. #VFL #GoVols

Must Know Tid-bits about the University of Tennessee Vols – Check out these tid-bit facts about the University of Tennessee football. #VFL #GoVols Click To Tweet

The Vols first year of football was in 1891.

Vols Helmet from 2004
Vols Helmet from 2004 Photo take by Steve Patterson



  1. Began construction in 1919.
  2. First game Sept. 24, 1921 (TN beats Emery & Henery)
  3. 3,200 seats in 1921.
  4. September 14, 1968 first game on artificial turf. (TN tied GA)
  5. September 16, 1972 was the first night game. (TN beats Penn State)
  6. November 27, 1993 last game on artificial turf. (TN beats Vanderbilt)
  7. September 17, 1994 first game on restored turn. (TN loses to FL)
  8. Record Attendance of 109,061 on Sept. 18, 2004. (TN beats FL)

Check out my experience at Neyland Stadium.

Did you know as of 2010, Neyland Stadium ranked 3rd in largest college football stadiums. However, in 2019, Neyland Stadium now ranks 4th place.

Neyland Stadium can host 102,455.

Number 1 being Penn State and number 2 being Michigan. (in 2010). However in 2019, that has reversed, Michigan State is first and Penn State is second. With Texas A&M in third.

Learn more about Neyland Stadium. #NeylandStadium Click To Tweet


  • From Charles Moore in 1891 (part of 1st football team)
  • First Orange jerseys appeared in 1922 opening game.

The colors Orange and White were selected by Charles Moore, a member of the first football team in 1891, and later were approved by a vote of the student body. The colors were those of the common American daisy which grew in profusion on The Hill. Tennessee players did not appear in the now-famous Orange jerseys until the season opening game in

  1. Coach M.B. Banks’ Vols won that game over
    Emory and Henry by a score of 50-0.

Check out All Things Orange & All Things White.

Learn more about the colors orange and white for the UT Vols. #GBO Click To Tweet

Personally I loved those Black & Orange jerseys they wore during the Oct. 31, 2009 (Halloween) game.

Mascot: SMOKEY

  • From a vote by students in 1953.
  • Introduced in 1953 during the Mississippi State game.
  • Reb. Brooks and his family have helped take care of 9 dogs in all.
  • Leads the team during the giant “T“ precession before the game.
  • Since 2004, Smokey IX has been serving
  • Smokey is a Bluetick Coonhound.

After a student poll sponsored by the Pep Club revealed a desire to select a live mascot for the University, the Pep Club held a contest in 1953 to select a coonhound, a native breed of the state, as the 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 enetered his prize-winning blue tick coonhound, “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 carried the banner from 2004-12. Mrs. Brooks died in July 1997.

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. The dogs have led exciting lives. Smokey II was dognapped by Kentucky students in 1955 and later survived a confrontation with the Baylor Bear at the 1957 Sugar Bowl. Smokey VI, who suffered heat exhaustion in the 140-degree temperatures at the 1991 UCLA game, was listed on the Vols injury report until he returned later in the season. Smokey III complied a 105-39-5 record and two SEC Championships. Smokey VI, who passed away 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.

Learn more about Smokey the mascot for the University of Tennessee. #Smokey #SmokeyX #GBO Click To Tweet

Smokey X was introduced at Homecoming 2012 and began his duties in 2013. Which Smokey is now the Tennessee’s Official State Dog.


  • From Coach Doug Dickey in 1964
  • Played Boston College when introduced
  • Used until 1968 when artificial turf came to be used.
  • 1989 reused again on the artificial turf.
  • Now currently used since 1994 on natural turf.

The unique design accompanied coach Doug Dickey’s arrival in 1964 when the Vols played Boston College on Oct. 10. The colorful and popular end zones were a part of Tennessee football until 1968 when the natural sod was dug out and artificial turf was put in its place. The tradition was reinstated with the new artificial turf in 1989 and has continued with the transformation to natural grass in 1994. The checkerboard end zones also now appear at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Learn more about the orange and white checkerboard end zones at Newyland Stadium. #NeylandStadium #GBO Click To Tweet


  • 16 – Peyton Manning
  • 92 – Reggie White
  • 91 – Doug Atkins
  • 62 – Clyde Fuson*
  • 49 – Rudy Klarer*
  • 32 – Bill Nowling*
  • 61 – Willis Tucker*

* are four Vols who died during World War II.


  • Written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967 at the Gatlinburg Inn in Gatlinburg, TN
  • First performed in 1972 during the TN-AL Game at half-time.

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top,” — written in 10 minutes at the Gatlinburg Inn in 1967 — has captured the fancy of Vol fans everywhere and is a much-requested and much-played song at UT sporting events. First performed as part of a halftime country music show at the 1972 Tennessee-
Alabama game, the song attracted so much attention and is so beloved that long-time UT band director WJ Julian said that not playing it would cause a mutiny among Vol fans. It’s been described as “simplistic and clever,” with five basic chords and title being repeated 19 times. Yet opposing coaches have mentioned the influence and impact of “Rocky Top” on their teams and their game preparations. There have been more than 100 renditions of “Rocky
Top” by individuals, country groups, bluegrass and even East Tennessee rock groups. “Rocky Top” was adopted as an official song of the state of Tennessee by Chapter 545 of the Public Acts of 1982.

Learn more about the fight song, Rocky Top at the University of Tennessee. #RockyTop #GBO Click To Tweet


  • Formed just after the Civil War.
  • More then 400 students.
  • First marched in 1902.
  • 1969 formed the Power “T“ at opening of the game against Army. (Vols was victorious).

The University of Tennessee band was organized immediately after the Civil War when the school reopened. Since then, the enrollment in the band program has grown to more than 400 students (in all bands) from all colleges of the University.

The 300-member “Pride of the Southland” Band appears at all home football games and most out-of-town games before more than 850,000 spectators plus millions more on television.

With the exception of 2013, the Pride of the Southland has represented the state of Tennessee for each Presidential Inauguration since 1965. The band has also made more than 40 bowl appearances, includingthe Sugar Bowl, Astro Bluebonnet Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Gator Bowl, Hall of Fame Bowl, Garden State Bowl, Sun Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, and the Rose Bowl.

When the UT Marching Band takes the field, the crowd reaction truly indicates that it is not only the Pride of Tennesseans, but the “Pride of the Southland.”

Learn more about the Pride of the Southland Band at the University of Tennessee. #SouthlandBand Click To Tweet

Check out the hand signal the Drum Major gives before playing Rocky Top. GIve ’em the Vol.

Letter: THE POWER “T”

  • Started on the helmets in 1964
  • Doug Dickey was the coach at that time
  • Coach Dickey also started the Vols running through the Power “T“ formed by the band.
  • Johnny Majors, took over as head coach and had “T“ redesigned in 1977.

The famed letter “T” debuted on Tennessee’s helmets in 1964 as Doug Dickey assumed the coaching reins. Johnny Majors had the ‘T’ slightly redesigned when he was named head coach in 1977. Dickey also brought another Tennessee tradition to life when he started the Vols running through a giant “T’ formed by the band. The tradition began on Sept. 18, 1965, versus Army.

Learn more about the Power T at the University of Tennessee. #PowerT #GBO Click To Tweet

The Vol Walk

Head coach Johnny Majors and his team performed the first “Vol Walk” into Neyland Stadium before the Alabama game on Oct. 20, 1990. They marched from Gibbs Hall down Yale Avenue (now Peyton Manning Pass) and Stadium Drive (now Phillip Fulmer Way) into Neyland Stadium about two hours before kickoff.

In 1989, the team walked unofficially to the games from Bill Gibbs Dormitory. That phenomenon caught on with fans. However, the first publicized and announced Vol Walk did not take place until the Alabama game in 1990.

Nearly 30 years later, the Vols have maintained the tradition of greeting fans as they make their way to the locker rooms and prepare for the game.

Learn more about the Vol Walk at the University of Tennessee. #VolWalk #GBO Click To Tweet

First Game at Bristol Motor Speedway

The University of Tennessee Volunteers will took on The Virginia Tech Hokies was on September 10, 2016 at the Battle at Bristol. The first ever football game at the Bristol Motor Speedway. They played on AstroTurf. One end zone is done with the checkerboard for UT and the other end done up for VA Tech. Tennessee won 45 to 24.

Misc. Stats

  • 16 National Championships
  • 29 Conference Championships
  • 40 First-Round Selections
  • 66 All-American
  • 200+ NFL Draft Picks

The Sign

The wooden sign carved in the shape of the state of Tennessee inscribed with the words “I will give my all for Tennessee today” has been in the Vols’ locker room at home and on the road since Bill Battle’s coaching tenure in 1970.

Know more?

Do you know any more tid-bits about the Tennessee Volunteers? Feel free to share in the comments. I just might add it to this list!

Vols Radio Network

First published August 22, 2010. Last republished or updated August 13, 2019.

Most of this Information was pulled from the 2010 & 2019 Football Media Guides.

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Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

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