UTM has a number traditions that are special to our campus. Expand the accordions below to learn more.

Skyhawk (1995-Present)

“Captain” is the official name of UT Martin’s costumed Skyhawk mascot. The name “Captain” was selected because it’s gender-neutral and fits the concept of a mythical hawk that flies a plane. UT Martin’s official mascot became the Skyhawks in 1995 when a group of wise thinkers captured UT Martin’s history in a three-fold manner:

The first educational institution on the site of UT Martin was Hall-Moody Bible Institute. The school’s athletic teams were called “sky pilots,” a frontier term for preachers in that day, but perhaps the students were thinking of the glamorous flying aces of World War I. During World War II, UT Junior College contracted with the Naval War Training Service to help train pilots, who completed their flight training at an airport located on the current site of Westview High School. Red-tail hawks are indigenous to the west Tennessee region.

UT Martin teams are the Skyhawks, not the Hawks. Women’s teams are not Lady Skyhawks; they are simply Skyhawks women’s teams.


Carey Bates, vice president of the Student Government Association and a 6’5”, 240-pound tackle on the football team, understandably explained that “he was tired of being referred to as a ‘Baby Vol.’” The new nicknane chosen by the student body in close vote was Pacers. Some thought this was an appropriate selection since UT Martin was a pace-setting university, but others weren’t enthused. “What is a Pacer?” and “What will be our mascot?” were the questions which plagues the selection. Later, it was decided that the pacer horse would be the mascot, and the Martin Bank purchased a horse and sulky for the school in 1981. Shortly afterwards, Chuckie made his appearance at football games. Following a touchdown, the original driver, Curtis Sullivan, would enjoy a ride in the sulky as Chuckie paced around the field. Sullivan is also credited with selecting the name Chuckie for the horse. With a little imagination, one can determine the origin of the name in 1980. The ascots, Pacer Pete and Pacer Polly, had arrived on the scene in the meantime. The school colors, orange and white, were retained and a third color, royal blue, was added.

Excerpt from The University of Tennessee at Martin – First One Hundred Years, written by Robert Carroll (p. 129)

Baby Vols

While the school was a junior college the sports teams were called the Junior Volunteers. In 1951, when UT Junior College was elevated to senior college status, the Volunteer nickmame remained, but the athletic teams were often referred to as the BabyVols or LittleVols.

Excerpt from The University of Tennessee at Martin – First One Hundred Years by Robert Carroll (p. 129)


On the plains of Tennessee,
Campus green and tow’ring trees,
You lie shining, U.T.M.,
Beloved Alma Mater.
Campus pride we’ll ne’er forget,
Playing fields and hallowed halls,
Friends who came from many lands
To light their lamps within your walls.

Guide our minds to waiting truth.
Lift our faith, our hopes, our sight.
Raise your torch till we are free
To strive for justice, truth and light.
Faithful sons and daughters, we
Love the orange, white, and blue.
Through the years of all our lives
We pledge our loyalty to you.

Celebrating its 50th birthday in 2018, the UTM Rodeo is one of the premier collegiate rodeos east of the Mississippi. The annual rodeo features cowboys and cowgirls from all over the region.

Homecoming is a week-long series of events for UTM alumni and friends who come back to campus during the UTM football season. Events include Pyramid, the NPHC Homecoming Stepshow, Ropepull, and the newest edition to Homecoming—Quad City, with more than 60 tents, live broadcast from WUTM and more on the Saturday of Homecoming.

Learn more about homecoming

Grand Finale Celebration & Senior Walk

Beginning in December 2004, this event honors seniors and serves as a venue to welcome them to the UT Alumni Association. The event concludes with the playing of the alma mater and the senior walk through the heart of the campus, with students cheered on by faculty, staff, students, and friends.

Starting in 2003, each year on move-in day, alumni and legacies are guests of the Alumni Association at the Legacy Luncheon in Paul Meek Library. Legacies are important to the university, sharing traditions with the next generation.

A week-long celebration of Greek life at UTM, the event features activities and educational opportunities for the UTM Greek community, beginning with the annual Greek Awards Banquet and ending with the Greekfest Stepshow. Each year a philanthropy is selected as the highlight for the week.

A long-standing rivalry goes to help a good cause. Each year Murray State and UTM go head-to-head to see which campus can donate the most blood to assist the Red Cross in this area.