Tennessee Volunteers: A Checkerboard Legacy Unveiled

tennessee volunteers checkerboard

Tennessee Volunteers Checkerboard: A Symbol of Pride and Unity

For over a century, the Tennessee Volunteers checkerboard has been a symbol of pride and unity for the Volunteer State. The checkerboard pattern has been used on everything from football jerseys to state flags, and it has become an iconic symbol of Tennessee’s rich history and culture.

The Checkerboard’s Origins

The origins of the checkerboard pattern in Tennessee can be traced back to the early 19th century. In 1831, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted a state flag that featured a checkerboard pattern of blue and white. The flag was inspired by the flag of the Republic of Texas, which had been adopted just a few years earlier.

Initially, the public did not well receive these designs. As a result, in 1835, after only four years of use, Tennessee adopted a new state flag. This flag featured a white field with a red and blue canton. The canton contained three white stars, which represented Tennessee’s three grand divisions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee.

The Checkerboard’s Resurgence

In 1905, the Tennessee Volunteers football team adopted the checkerboard pattern as its official team colors. The checkerboard pattern quickly became popular with fans, and it soon became a symbol of Volunteer pride. In 1912, the University of Tennessee adopted the checkerboard pattern as its official school colors.

The Checkerboard Today

Today, the Tennessee Volunteers checkerboard is one of the most recognizable logos in college sports. It is displayed on everything from football helmets to T-shirts, and it is a symbol of pride for all Tennesseans.


The Tennessee Volunteers checkerboard is a symbol of pride and unity for the Volunteer State. It is a reminder of Tennessee’s rich history and culture, and it is a symbol of the state’s bright future.

The Checkerboard: A Symbol of Unity and Determination in Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Volunteers Football Stadium

Introduction: A Shared Heritage

Nestled in the heart of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Tennessee Volunteers, fondly known as the “Vols,” hold a special place in the annals of college football. Deeply rooted in tradition and fervent fandom, the Vols have carved a niche for themselves, forging an unrivaled legacy on the gridiron. At the heart of this legacy lies a symbol that epitomizes the spirit of unity, resilience, and unyielding determination: the checkerboard.

The Checkerboard’s Genesis: A Stroke of Inspiration

Tennessee Volunteers Checkerboard End Zone

The genesis of the checkerboard can be traced back to Johnny Majors, a legendary figure in Tennessee football history. In the early 1970s, Majors, then the Vols’ head coach, sought to create a distinct identity for his team, one that would set them apart from their rivals. Inspired by the checkerboard pattern often found on race cars, Majors envisioned a similar design for the Vols’ end zones. His vision quickly materialized, and the checkerboard became an integral part of Tennessee football, captivating fans and imbuing the team with a sense of purpose and unity.

A Visual Masterpiece: Engineering the Checkerboard

Tennessee Volunteers Checkerboard Design

The checkerboard design is a testament to meticulous planning and execution. It comprises alternating squares of orange and white, the colors synonymous with Tennessee athletics. The pattern extends from the goal line to the 25-yard line, creating a visually striking spectacle that adds to the ambiance of Neyland Stadium, the Vols’ home turf. The checkerboard serves as a canvas for the team’s triumphs, a visual representation of their unwavering spirit and indomitable will.

A Symbol of Unity and Camaraderie: The Checkerboard’s Impact

Tennessee Volunteers Fans in Checkerboard Attire

The checkerboard has transcended its role as a mere design element, evolving into a symbol of unity and camaraderie among Tennessee fans. It has fostered a sense of belonging and shared identity, uniting generations of Vols faithful under a common banner. On game days, Neyland Stadium transforms into a sea of orange and white, with fans proudly displaying the checkerboard pattern on their attire, creating an electrifying atmosphere that reverberates throughout the stadium. The checkerboard has become a visual representation of the unyielding support and unwavering loyalty of Tennessee fans, further solidifying the team’s connection to its passionate fan base.

Checkerboard Moments: Defining Moments in Vols History

Tennessee Volunteers Celebrate Victory in Checkerboard End Zone

The checkerboard has witnessed countless iconic moments in Tennessee football history. From Peyton Manning’s record-breaking performances to unforgettable victories over arch-rivals, the checkerboard has served as a backdrop to some of the most defining moments in Vols lore. It has become a symbol of triumph, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of the Tennessee Volunteers. Each victory celebrated within the confines of the checkerboard end zone is a testament to the dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment of the players, coaches, and fans who have made Tennessee football a powerhouse in the world of college athletics.

Beyond the Gridiron: The Checkerboard’s Cultural Impact

Tennessee Volunteers Checkerboard Merchandise

The checkerboard’s influence extends far beyond the boundaries of Neyland Stadium. It has become a cultural icon, synonymous with Tennessee athletics. Checkerboard merchandise, ranging from jerseys and hats to mugs and car decals, can be found throughout the state and beyond. The checkerboard pattern has also found its way into popular culture, appearing in movies, television shows, and even video games. Its widespread recognition and appeal underscore the checkerboard’s enduring legacy as a symbol of Tennessee pride and tradition.

A Legacy of Excellence: The Checkerboard’s Enduring Legacy

Tennessee Volunteers Football Championships

The checkerboard has become an enduring symbol of excellence in Tennessee athletics. It represents a storied history, a legacy of success, and a unwavering commitment to achieving greatness. The checkerboard stands as a testament to the countless players, coaches, and fans who have contributed to the rich tapestry of Tennessee football. It is a symbol that will continue to inspire generations to come, reminding them of the unwavering spirit and unyielding determination that defines the Tennessee Volunteers.

Conclusion: The Checkerboard’s Timeless Appeal

The checkerboard has become an iconic symbol of Tennessee athletics, representing unity, determination, and a shared heritage. It has transcended its role as a mere design element, evolving into a cultural icon that resonates with fans far and wide. The checkerboard is a timeless symbol that embodies the spirit of the Tennessee Volunteers, a reminder of their unwavering commitment to excellence and their enduring legacy of success.


  1. What is the origin of the checkerboard design in Tennessee football?

The checkerboard design was introduced in the early 1970s by then-head coach Johnny Majors, who sought to create a distinct identity for the Vols. Inspired by the checkerboard pattern often found on race cars, Majors envisioned a similar design for the team’s end zones, and it quickly became an integral part of Tennessee football.

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