Recent discussion about whether the name “Volunteers” was appropriate for a Tennessee team has resulted in a contest to change the name. The term “Volunteers” comes from the role Tennesseans played in a war in Texas that had nothing to do with us. Since it relates to Texas directly, and not really Tennessee, a strong movement has been pushing for a name-change.
Last month, University officials sponsored a contest to encourage public participation in the renaming process. Murray Atkinson sent in the winning entry, the Tennessee White Ferrets. For his efforts, Atkinson will get the first Official White Ferret T-Shirt that comes off production lines later this week and tickets to the first game.
a University spokesperson said that the ferret came up quite a bit among the entries. They counted almost 3000 different references to the furry animal. “We knew when we saw White Ferrets that we had our name. It just relates so well to Knoxville, with our annual Ferrets in the City festival and snow-capped mountains looming in the background,” the spokesperson stated. “And what a relief that will be for our eyes. No more orange!”
In an interview, Atkinson said he got the idea from Taxidermist Earl Clay’s White Ferret display from last year’s festival. The display, which featured an albino ferret triumphantly holding an acorn, can be seen in the basement of the Knoxville Museum of Art. “The look on that ferret’s face, like he had overcome a great obstacle to obtain the acorn, spoke volumes to me. It showed victory over great adversity,” said Atkinson.
The mascot costume will be completed in time for a few PR spots before the first game of the season. It is expected to be a hit with children of all ages, even with the odd scent that comes with it.
The Tennessee White Ferrets face Wyoming on August 31. Officials say people still wearing orange outfits will be allowed into the stadium but will be issued warnings to buy new clothes for the next game. New team colors are white, black, and brown.