Football, A Volunteer Tradition

In the south football is tradition, its excitement, its rivalry, and its history. The man we all have to thank for the college sport of football was Walter Camp. He is known as the “Father of American Football.” As a Yale graduate, who sat at halfback in his playing days, he helped form the rules of the Intercollegiate Football Association. 

But what’s most important in Tennessee is the Volunteers. On November 21, 1891 the University of Tennessee Knoxville played their first game against Sewanee in Chattanooga. They lost 24 to 0. Then following that loss was another on Thanksgiving Day in Knoxville. For a while the team played their games at Baldwin and Chilhowee Park. Nearby newspapers stressed the importance of football and the growth the sport will take throughout the nation. How right they were. The Vols played their first game on the iconic Shields-Watkins field (the field now in Neyland Stadium) in 1921.

As most Tennesseans know, the name “Volunteers” goes all the way back to the war of 1812 and every war draft since. Any time there is a need to serve our country the Tennessee Volunteers step up. (For more on Tennessee’s involvement in past wars check out previous blog posts.) One fighting man in particular became the University of Tennessee’s logo in 1983, Davy Crockett. The Volunteer name did not entirely come along in the beginning though. It was not until Tennessee beat Georgia Tech in 1902 that a writer from the Atlanta Journal Constitution called them the Volunteers. In 1905 the name became official and has been iconic ever since. 

With their 38 All-Americans, six national championships, and 16 conference titles the name Tennessee Volunteers is known throughout the nation. Despite the last few disappointing seasons the list of legends who wore Tennessee orange is hard to miss: General Robert Neyland, Peyton Manning, Travis Henry, Will Bartholomew, Joey Kent, Marcus Nash, Jason Witten, Antone Davis, Bob Suffridge, Bob Johnson, Cosey Coleman, Chad Clifton, Reggie White, Albert Haynesworth, John Henderson, Doug Atkins, Leonard Little, Al Wilson, Andy Spiva, Bobby Majors, Eric Berry, Deon Grant, Dale Carter, Jimmy Colquitt, Fuad Reveiz, and Wille Gault.

A school with history, pride, and true southern volunteerism. 

“Rocky Top Tennessee, Home Sweet Home to Me.”

Happy Game Week!

Stop by SmallBiz for a Tennessee Volunteer Football Schedule!

Sources:

  1. https://www.history.com/news/who-invented-football#:~:text=The%20game%20has%20ancient%20origins,the%20sport%20we%20know%20today.&text=Vintage%20%2F%20Getty%20Images-,The%20game%20has%20ancient%20origins%2C%20but%20in%20the%20late%2019th,the%20sport%20we%20know%20today.
  2. https://www.utk.edu/history/first-football-game
  3. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1298130-tennessee-volunteers-football-the-all-time-dream-team
  4. https://www.rockytoptalk.com/2017/8/17/16164366/davy-crockett-and-the-tennessee-volunteers-a-history-behind-the-name-college-football
  5. https://www.sportslogos.net/logos/view/2650/Tennessee_Volunteers/1987/Secondary_Logo

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