The University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee is one of the coolest and wildest college towns in the South. It is famous for being a football school with a great social scene. It is located right at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and is only an hour away from gorgous hikes. Most of the Students that go to UT are from the state and are beneficiaries of the Hope lottery scholarship.
The Volunteers were coached by Phillip Fulmer and play at Neyland Stadium, which averages over 107,000 fans per game. On November 3, 2008, Phillip Fulmer held a press conference indicating that he would be stepping down as head coach at the end of the year. This decision is speculated to have stemmed from poor University support because of a disappointing season. Lane Kiffin was officially announced as the new head coach of the Vols on December 1, 2008. Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning and the late NFL Hall of Fame player Reggie White are among the numerous NFL athletes to start their careers at the University of Tennessee.
The men’s basketball program is headed by Bruce Pearl. Through his guidance, the men’s program has been revitalized and claimed the 2005–2006 SEC East Title and closed the season with a 22-8 record and a NCAA Tournament berth. In 2007, the Vols made the NCAA tourney for the second straight year, making it to the Sweet Sixteen. In 2008 the Vols claimed their first outright SEC regular season championship in 41 years. One of the highlights of the 2008 season came when number 2 UT knocked off top-ranked Memphis, who was then undefeated, to claim the number one ranking in the nation-only to lose it in their next game, three nights later at Vanderbilt. In men’s basketball, the most important rivalries are with Kentucky, Florida and cross-state rivals Vanderbilt and Memphis.
Tennessee has the strongest women’s basketball team at the college level, having won eight NCAA Division I titles (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008), the most in women’s college basketball history. The Lady Volunteers are led by Pat Summitt, who is the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA history, having won 990 games as of December 16, 2008. Coach Summitt also boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for all players who finish their career at UT. Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball star Candace Parker went No. 1 in the WNBA draft and is being called the possibly best woman to ever play basketball.
Smokey is the mascot of the University of Tennessee sports teams. These teams, named “The Volunteers” and nicknamed “the Vols”, use both a live and a costumed version of Smokey.
There is an actual Bluetick Coonhound mascot, Smokey IX, which leads the Vols on the field for football games. The hound is cared for by the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity on the University of Tennessee campus. There is also a costumed mascot that appears at every Vols game and has won several mascot championships. content via wikipedia