Monday, October 15, 2012



Knoxville, Tennessee (HouseOfNeyland) The University of Tennessee's mascot, "SMOKEY," was selected in a competition at halftime of the Mississippi State game in 1953.

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?

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