KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- He's at every game running through the "Power T", waiting patiently to celebrate a Vol touchdown and this week, the tradition of Smokey turns 60.
It all started as a contest to find the University of Tennessee a mascot 60 years ago.
Tom Mattingly, author of 'Smokey; The True Stories behind the University of Tennessee's Beloved Mascot' said "There were discussions to have a bear, or Tennessee Walking Horse as mascots but then someone suggested a Coon Hound."
Officials with the contest gave Coon Hounds a try; parading one at a time in front of students to hear their reactions.
"Smokey was the last dog as they applauded and cheered. He howled and that made them cheer louder. There was no doubt afterwards on who the mascot would be." said Mattingly
Since that first Smokey; nine others have followed in his footsteps.
Mattingly said "We lost the original lineage with Smokey IV when he died without bearing pups. However, Earl Hudson the owner of the Smokey's got the last three from Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina."
Even though past Smokey's have been born in different states the same family has raised our Blue Tick Coon Hound mascot all these years.
When you're at the game this week-- look for Smokey near the Student's Section and while you might only see one dog; there's another still alive!
"We are on number 10 right now but number 9 is still around just out of commission because he tore his ACL." Mattingly said.
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