Tuesday Traditions: The Vol Walk

Hundreds of former Vols have walked down Peyton Manning Pass, onto Phillip Fulmer Way over the past 15 years and the ‘Vol Walk’ is now synonymous with Tennessee football.

We have covered several traditions so far in this series, from the checkerboard end zones to the Volunteers’ nickname and the color orange.

This week, we’ll take a look at a fan favorite when it comes to Tennessee traditions, the Vol Walk. It is something that fans of all ages enjoy. Without this tradition, a game day in Tennessee wouldn’t be the same for most ‘Big Orange’ fans.

Some of the greatest players in Tennessee history have made the walk down Peyton Manning Pass and Phillip Fulmer Way as they head toward Neyland Stadium. From Manning, to Al Wilson, to Leonard Little and as resent as Eric Berry, legendary players have graced the streets.

Since the Vol Walk became an official tradition in 1990, there have been 20 All-Americans that have walked the Vol Walk. Twenty-six first round selections in the NFL Draft have made the trip through the sea of orange. Eight of them were taken in the top 10 of the draft. That doesn’t even include the other players not drafted in the first round.

As of Sept. 8, 2015, there are 31 Vols on active NFL rosters, all of which have made the famed trip known as the Vol Walk.

While the walk started in 1989, it was not until the 1990 Tennessee vs. Alabama game where the the tradition became official when then-head coach Johnny Majors led the Volunteers down to Neyland Stadium in the first official Vol Walk.

The Vol Walk only grew bigger and better from that day on. During one of Tennessee’s most dominant eras, the walk reached new heights in popularity.

When Phillip Fulmer was the head coach, the team started by Gibbs Hall and walked to the Torchbearer, then headed down to gate 19.

 

Since current head coach Butch Jones has taken over, the team arrives at the top of Peyton Manning Pass by bus and unloads at the Torchbearer. The Volunteer then waves the ‘Power T’ flag to signal the team’s arrival. Thousands of fans clad in orange and white fill the street and The Pride of the Southland Band’s White Pep Band starts to play as Jones leads the Vols towards Neyland Stadium. The team now enters the stadium at gate 21A, allowing even more fans to see the team.

The Vol Walk has even taken the show on the road in the last couple of years, from Jacksonville, Florida at the Taxslayer Bowl to Nashville for the Vols’ 2015 season opener vs. Bowling Green.

Though the dress and route may have changed throughout the years, one thing remains the same:

The Vol Walk is a fan favorite.

Featured image by Ben Moser

Edited by Cody McClure

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Sam Forman is the lead sports staff writer for the Tennessee Journalist and is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media with a focus on sports broadcasting and reporting. He has been with TNJN since the fall of 2014. He is also a DJ for WUTK 90.3 fm. and a member of the Rock Solid Sports team. Sam has spent six years marching in the Pride of The Southland Marching Band. When he is not covering or talking sports, you can find him outdoors, playing music or hanging out with friends. You can find him on twitter: @samWforman