Love of the game and of a team often leads to passionate displays of fandom with chants, signs and lots team spirit gear.

For one couple, it led to their newborn triplets names.

The backstory

Nancy Adams and Jeffery Steele welcomed two boys and a baby girl on Aug. 3, but it’s the names given to the Steele triplets that have gained them attention.

Life-long Tennessee fan Jeffery managed to convince Nancy, a Vanderbilt Commodores fan herself, to a Volunteers theme.

“We’ve always been UT fans on this side of the family,” grandmother Sherri Steele said. “ … Jeffery was sitting around thinking ‘I want to center it around UT.’”

The two boys are named Knox and Neyland, for the city where father Jeffery grew up and the famous UT stadium. The baby girl’s name of Tennessee Grace took a bit more for the couple to come up with.

Nancy originally had a different first name picked out for her baby girl up until her baby shower when a cousin told her that Tennessee was the name of her great-grandmother.

Tennessee was a named that Nancy and Jeffery had discussed prior to that conversation but the family connection and tie-in with the twins sold the name for Nancy, said Sherri.

Baby Tennessee Grace’s middle name is also tied to the older sisters Hope and Faith, the couple’s 9-year-old twins.

The UT themed grand entrance

Everyone, including Centennial Hospital where the triplets were born, have really bought into the theme. Nurses made special UT themed name cards, complete with “Go Vols” and bought special orange and white blankets for the triplets to use.

While the names have gained big attention after Tennessee’s own insider newsletter sent out a note about the Steele triplets, the biggest surprise to the Steele family was never the names.

Three's company...and a surprise

Jeffery’s called Sherri to tell his parents that he and Nancy weren’t having twins. Sherri immediately thought that Nancy was only pregnant with one until Jeffery dropped the surprise of triplets shocking both of his parents.

“We always knew it was possible for twins,” with Hope and Faith, but “we’d never had triplets or even twins on our side of the family,” Sherri said.

All of the Steele triplets are healthy and currently in the NICU at Centennial. It’s expected that they will all be able to go home in 2-5 weeks.

“We just can’t wait to get them home and just cuddle them,” said Sherri.

Reach Autumn Allison at aallison@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter: @Aallison_TN.


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