TENNESSEE'S TOP DOG: SMOKEY
In the competition, "BROOKS' BLUE SMOKEY" won because he "was the best howler."
Since that day, 9 BLUETICK coonhounds* have served as the VOLUNTEER mascot.
According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, EARL HUDSON has been the caretaker of VOL "Smokies" since 1993.
Today his son & daughter-in-law, Charles & Cindy Hudson, care for SMOKEY IX.
SMOKEY IX is 9 years old. He is still recovering, like some of the VOLS, from ACL surgery at UT's College of Veterinary Medicine. He's back on the field but not at 100%.
Smokey's handler, Trey McAdams, says that despite the injury...
"...when (Smokey) puts the (orange & white) vest on, he knows who he becomes. He kind of struts; I think he knows he's important."
When Earl Hudson was asked what it takes to make a good mascot, he answered:
"(His) turn (attitude). That's his personality. He's got to be calm. He's got to have a good perception. You can tell if a pup picks up things easy. He's just got to have a good turn."*
*The News-Sentinel reports that Hudson's stories about Smokey have been published in a new book titled "Smokey: The True Stories behind the University of Tennessee's Beloved Mascot" by Tom Mattingly.
*Bluetick Coonhounds originated in Louisiana but were not recognized as a separate breed by the AKC until 2009.
They get their "blue" color from black & white mottling which gives the impression of a navy blue color.
Blueticks are bred to be hunting dogs. They are athletic & need full time activity to stay happy.
They are intelligent & have a knack for problem-solving.**
**Could it be that we have wasted Smokey as a mascot? Would we be better served to put him on our coaching staff?