1953 – 1955
Smokey I, First UT Mascot, in Service
In 1953, the UT Pep Club held a contest to select a coonhound as the school’s live mascot. Rev. W. C. “Bill” Brooks entered his prize-winning bluetick coonhound “Brooks’ Blue Smokey.” At halftime of the game against Mississippi State, several dogs were lined up for voting. Each dog was introduced over the loudspeaker, and the student body cheered for their favorite. “Blue Smokey” was the last hound introduced. When his name was called, he howled. The students cheered and Smokey howled more. This kept on until the stadium was in an uproar. Smokey I began his mascot career at the 1953 home game against Duke by entering the field on a white carpet rolled out by cheerleaders. He served for the 1953 and 1954 seasons under head coach Harvey Robinson with an overall record of 10-10-1. Smokey I was hit and killed by a car in 1955 after escaping from the garage at his home. In 2019, the bluetick coonhound became the state dog of Tennessee.