Thursday, January 17, 2013
SMOKEY IX: THE TRADITION LIVES
In his debut, SMOKEY IX, according to his handler, Scott Walker, "was really nervous" when he ran through the "T" for the 1st time.
But Walker adds that SMOKEY IX has that "puppy spirit" & "is more playful with the fans."
Two years later, however, SMOKEY IX was accused of being more than playful with an Alabama player during warm ups.
SMOKEY IX was alleged to have "nipped at....perhaps even bitten" the player.
Earl Hudson, however, does not believe the latter.
Hudson says that SMOKEY IX "got a little of his uniform....didn't break the skin."
But the really BIG NEWS for SMOKEY IX & for all UT mascots before & after came on November 25, 2009.
"The American Kennel Club...made blue-tick hounds...the 162nd registered breed..."*
*A friend of mine, a big GEORGIA BULLDOG fan, used to claim that their mascot was a purebred & ours was just a mongrel.
The Westminster Kennel Club announced in February 2010 that the bluetick coonhound would be "redshirted" for one year & then be allowed to qualify for competitions.
In the fall of 2011, SMOKEY IX began to "limp noticeably" & began to undergo treatment & eventually ACL surgery on January 24, 2012.
Vet Dr. Darryl Mills reported "the surgery went great."
SMOKEY IX has served under Coach Fulmer, the guy who left for Southern Cal, & Derek Dooley.
He will now continue the UT mascot tradition with new football coach Butch Jones.**
**Welcome Coach Jones & Happy Birthday!
HOUSE OF NEYLAND COMMENT
The University of Tennessee has the only bluetick coonhound mascot in the world.
While we have been struggling with success in our football program in the past few years, we can always take pride in our traditions, like SMOKEY.
There are many colleges who do not have REAL animals as their mascots, including the RED ELEPHANTS.
WE DO! We have SMOKEY...thanks to you, our BEST FRIEND, for being there for us through thick & thin, win or lose.
Thanks for "GIVING YOUR ALL FOR TENNESSEE!"
"SMOKEY: The True Stories behind the University of Tennessee's Beloved Mascot," by Thomas J. Mattingly & Earl C. Hudson. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2012.