Sometimes, a mascot ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog. Other times she’s a collie. Regardless, the mascots of the SEC are at the heart of many revered, time-honored traditions. Our fall football schedule just wouldn’t be the same without them, and we’d be lying if we said they weren’t a bit sacred. They have us on our feet, cheering in the stands or just in front of our couch. Are we biased? Of course we are. But nowhere in college football does loyalty run as deep as in the Southeastern Conference.
- University of Tennessee—Volunteers and Coon Hounds Smokey IX. The first Smokey was a prize-winning bluetick coon hound chosen by a cheering crowd in 1953.When the country is in need, Tennessee shows up. At least that’s how they got their nickname—The Volunteers. During the War of 1812, President James Madison called for volunteers to fight. Tennessee apparently had several respond, as they did in the Mexican War when the secretary of state asked for 2,800 volunteers. In true Tennessee fashion, 30,000 showed up. But how exactly do you have a volunteer as a mascot? You don’t. UT’s mascot ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.
In 1953, the Pep Club had a contest for the next UT mascot. They were looking for a native Tennessee coon hound. That year, during the game against Mississippi State, all the dogs lined up at halftime. The dog with the most cheers would live forever in Tennessee history. When it came to the final pup, Rev. Bill Brooks came forward with his prize-winning bluetick coon hound, Brooks’ Blue Smokey. When his name was called, Smokey howled. The crowd cheered, which only made him howl more.
Today, the University of Tennessee is proudly represented by Smokey X, who took over in 2013, still leading the Vols through the “T” and on to a victory.
- Texas A&M University—Aggies and ColliesReveille XII. Starting with Miss Reveille III, all of the first ladies of Aggieland have been pure rough collies (photo courtesy of Patrick Boyd)Aggies might sound like an odd term for a football team. It’s actually not that odd for an agricultural school. Hence the name, Aggies. Students have been called Aggies at A&M schools for years. But at Texas A&M Aggies are not mascots. But their mascot is Aggie royalty. Meet Miss Reveille, first lady of Aggieland.
The first Miss Reveille came to Texas A&M through an unfortunate accident. In 1931 a group of cadets were heading home from a party when they accidentally hit a mixed-breed, black and white dog. It was at night, so they loaded her up and planned to take her to the veterinary school the next morning. They tried to keep her hidden, because pets were forbidden. But in the morning a trumpet sounded out Reveille and she started barking. Despite the rules, she stayed. The spoiled canine made her debut as mascot the following football season.
Miss Reveille was given the honorary title of Cadet General and is the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets at TAMU. She was given a military funeral upon her death in 1944 and buried at the north entrance to the field, facing the scoreboard so she can always see the Aggies beat their opponents.
Reveille III was the first to be a purebred rough collie, the only breed the university has kept ever since. And much like the first Miss Reveille, they are treated like royalty. She is always accompanied by a cadet of Company E-2 and is the only non-service dog allowed in buildings. By tradition, if Miss Reveille barks during class it is immediately dismissed. But that’s how it is when you’re the first lady.
- Vanderbilt University—Commodores The University of Tennessee Volunteers’ mascot is Mr. C., a 19th century commodoreFounder of Vanderbilt University, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was often called “Commodore Vanderbilt” because of the wealth he acquired through shipping. A commodore was a commanding officer over a fleet of ships. So as to pay homage to their founding father, the mascot of Vanderbilt is a commodore, Mr. C.
Mr. Commodore is a costumed mascot dressed as a nineteenth century naval officer. He has been a figure at the university in some form or another since the school’s establishment in 1873.
SEE ALL “MASCOTS OF THE SEC PART FOUR” PHOTOS HERE