SMOKEY VIII PASSES AWAY
Smokey VIII passed away earlier Friday. Smokey had been in declining
health, suffering from complications of high blood pressure and
Born Nov. 10, 1994, Smokey VIII began his reign in 1995 and retired
after the 2004 Peach Bowl in Atlanta after being diagnosed with a
nasal tumor in December 2003. He underwent radiation treatment and
then chemotherapy. The expected prognosis, with treatment was 13
months. Smokey VIII more than doubled that at two years, four months.
"Smokey VIII responded very well to radiation treatment and
chemotherapy for his nasal adenocarcinoma, surviving over a year
beyond his expected prognosis," Dr. Kate Stenske, Smokey's vet at UT
Veterinary Hospital, said. "He always came in with his tail wagging
and a friendly howl, and he will be missed by all his friends at UT
Smokey VIII is the winningest Smokey, having compiled a record of
91-22 (.805), with two SEC titles and the 1998 national championship.
The line of Smokeys began in 1953 when the late Rev. Bill Brooks
entered his prize-winning blue tick coon hound, "Brooks' Blue
Smokey," in a contest to pick the school's new mascot. Rev. Brooks
supplied UT with the line of canines until his death in 1986 when his
wife, Mildred, took over the caretaking role. She did so until 1994,
when her brother and sister-in-law, Earl and Martha Hudson of
Knoxville, took over responsibility for Smokey VII and eventually
Smokey VIII, with Smokey IX now carrying on the banner of the Smokey lineage.
"My relationship with Smokey VIII was special," Earl Hudson said. "I
got him when he was two months old. He served with distinction,
weathered storms, cold and heat. He came through it all real well
and was always rearing to go. He was a great mascot."
One of the most beloved figures in the state, Smokey is famous for
leading the Vols out of the giant "T" prior to each home game.
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Mar. 17, 2006