Music and cheering enhance the Volunteer spirit

Fans attending a University of Tennessee sporting event should expect to enjoy the sights, sounds, and vibrant vivid colors with some exciting music. The air is filled with sensational sounds that pumps up the avid sports fan. The University of Tennessee award-winning Pride of the Southland Band is always present to rev up the spirit. 

Since Tennessee’s marching band was founded just a few years after the Civil War in 1869 has become renowned throughout the country.  Now with more than 300 members, the University of Tennessee Band has represented Tennessee at a dozen presidential inaugurations.  The Pride of the Southland Marching Band has even been invited to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. The UT Concert Bands (Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band) have performed at conferences of the American Bandmasters Association, the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, and the Music Educators National Conference, as well as in major concert halls across the country. The UT Pep Bands perform regularly at selected football games, men’s and women’s basketball games and volleyball matches.

Dr. Gary Sousa is the Director of Bands and W. J. Julian Professor at UT.  The band also conducts exciting symphonies when they are not participating in a UT sporting event.


One of the most exciting moments of a UT football game at home is when the marching band forms the “Power T” formation on the football field prior to kickoff. Then the mighty Tennessee Volunteer football team and coaches, along with Smokey, UT’s mascot, run onto the football stadium through this formation. This act on the field immediately fires up the home crowd and the tone is set for the game kickoff.

While the band is playing in the stands near the UT student section of the stadium, the UT cheerleaders take over the enthusiasm with some unusual stunts, dance programs and cheers. In addition, UT’s mascot, Smokey, a blue tick coon hound leads the football team through the Power T onto the field while barking and howling. Ol’ Smokey has been the mascot for UT since 1953. UT also has a mascot dressed in a coonskin hat and a buckskin suit as Davy Crockett to represent UT as the Volunteer State. As the band is playing Rocky Top, near the student section, about 30 UT cheerleaders take over the lead in keeping the 108,000 fans pumped up with enthusiasm. The cheerleaders entertain as well as inspire the fans by performing stunts, dances and very loud cheers to create major excitement. UT cheerleaders are nationally ranked among other colleges throughout the country and they show this during sporting events and national competition.

The UT cheer leading squad is led by spirit coach Joy Postell-Gee. , who oversees the whole spirit program. So whether you are an avid fan of the Volunteers or just visiting the east Tennessee area, drop in on a UT athletic event and watch all the top notch action from the athletes, the band, and cheerleaders.

By Wes Hall

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