First Called Volunteers
The UT football team was called the Volunteers for the first time in 1902 when the Atlanta Constitution newspaper reported on a football game between UT and Georgia Tech. By the fall of 1905, both the Knoxville Sentinel and the Knoxville Journal and Tribune were using the Volunteer nickname. The state of Tennessee had become known as the Volunteer State when a large number of volunteers fought in the War of 1812. By the start of the Mexican-American War in 1846, 30,000 Tennessee volunteers responded to the secretary of war’s call for 2,800, clenching the state’s nickname.