KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Saturday marked the 100th celebration of homecoming on the University of Tennessee campus.
The tradition started back in 1916 when about 300 alumni cheered on the Vols to a victory against Vanderbilt here in Knoxville.
Fans of all ages flooded UT’s campus prior to the game Saturday for the special anniversary, also hoping to end a three-game losing streak on the field.
“It’s unreal to think it’s been 100 years of this Vol tradition. It’s great, the atmosphere’s great. Everyone’s spirits seems to be lifted,” Melanie Keene, Vols fan, said.
This year’s homecoming theme: “Journey through 100 years of Volunteers,” showcased in UT’s annual homecoming parade.
“I had chills,” Autumn Travis, Vols fan, said. “I’m so excited to be back on Rocky Top. I was born in Knoxville and both of my daughters graduated from UT so I’m a native Knoxvillian and I love being back on Rocky Top.”
Fans described the atmosphere electric, exciting longtime fans and attracting new ones, like high school senior Autumn Travis who attended her very first UT football game Saturday.
“This is the first college I’ve toured and honestly it’s going to be my only tour because when I walked on campus it felt like home,” Travis said. “It’s just so welcoming and warm and it’s just amazing.”
The Vols took on Tennessee Tech in Saturday’s homecoming match up, the first time the teams have played each other in 65 years.
“I went to Tennessee Tech so I’m a Golden Eagle at heart but I live in Knoxville and even worse, I am married to a UT grad,” Bud Slaton, Tennessee Tech fan, said. “To have a 100 year homecoming with both teams being from Tennessee, I believe it makes it extra special.”