Tennessee football is steeped in tradition-- from the orange and white to Smokey, Vol fans enjoy the familiar favorites on gameday.
Volunteers: As the state's land grant university, Tennessee draws its nickname from the name most associated with the state. Tennessee is called "The Volunteer State" because of the history of men volunteering to serve our country in times of war.
The Power T is the official logo for all Tennessee sports, expect the women’s basketball team who are the Lady Vols. Tennessee debuted the 'T' on its football helmets in 1964, Doug Dickey's first year as head football coach.
Running through the T: The pre-game excitement in Neyland Stadium reaches a fever pitch when the Pride of the Southland band forms the giant T on the field and the team runs through, with the bluetick coonhound Smokey leading the way. That tradition started in 1965 under Coach Doug Dickey.
Tennessee's distinctive orange and white colors were inspired by a flower. In 1891, Charles Moore, a member of the first football team, chose the colors based on the profusion of American daisies growing on the hill. The student body later voted to approve the colors.
Originally introduced by coach Doug Dickey in 1964, the colorful endzones of Neyland Stadium, painted in an orange and white checkerboard pattern, took a brief hiatus when artificial turf replaced grass in 1968. They were added back in 1989 and are a distinctive part of the Neyland Stadium experience and now, the Tennessee uniforms.
Vol fans took the checkerboard pattern to the extreme in 2014, when a fan-driven effort to Checker Neyland succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations! At the Florida game, more than 100,000 people coordinated to form the orange and white checkerboard in the stands!
Smokey the bluetick coonhound is the official and much loved mascot for the University of Tennessee.
To emphasize Tennessee’s Volunteer roots, Davy Crockett also roams the sidelines of Tennessee games. A student wearing buckskins and a coonskin hat represents the frontier hero from Tennessee. He carries the huge orange flag bearing the Power T at every game, and waves it wildly through the air after every score.
Rocky Top. No song is more feared in the SEC than Rocky Top, the Vols’ unofficial fight song. It was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and first performed by the band during halftime of the 1972 Tennessee-Alabama game. The fans loved it so much, it became a part of every game. The band plays the song after every score & pretty much anytime the team does anything good. Fans of other schools hate hearing Rocky Top!
The band plays UT’s alma mater "On a Hallowed Hill," at halftime of every home game. It was adopted in 1928. Lyrics:
On a Hallowed hill in Tennessee, Like Beacon shining bright
The stately walls of old UT,
Rise glorious to the sight.
So here's to you old Tennessee, Our Alma Mater true
We pledge in love and harmony, Our loyalty to you.
What a way to get to the game! Hundreds of boats in all shapes and sized anchor on the Tennessee River near the stadium for a unique tailgating experience that starts days before the game! The Vol Navy tradition started in 1962, when former Vol broadcaster George Mooney wanted a quicker and more exciting way to get to Neyland Stadium other than fighting the notorious Knoxville traffic.
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the outside of Neyland Stadium before a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)