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The University of Tennessee is home to nearly 30,000 students at its main campus in Knoxville. Satellite campuses are located across the state from Memphis and Martin in western Tennessee to Chattanooga and Tullahoma in the south. The university was originally founded as a college in Knoxville in 1794, two years before Tennessee became a state. The university's nickname, the Volunteers, is the state's nickname as well. It comes from the impact the state made when, during both the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, thousands of its men volunteered to fight.
The University of Tennessee Volunteers have several well-known sports teams. Part of the Southeastern Conference, the school was assigned to the Eastern Division of the conference when the SEC was divided in the early 1990s. One of Tennessee's traditional football rivals, the University of Florida, is a part of the Eastern Division as well. Two other strong football rivalries are those with the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Football games are played at Neyland Stadium, built in 1921 and expanded several times to reach its current capacity of over 102,000. In 1962, the stadium was named for coach Robert Neyland, who led the football team to four national championships as well the best winning record of any coach in the school's history from the 1930s through the early 1950s. In the late 1990s, the Volunteers won a national championship behind the leadership of later NFL stand-out quarterback Peyton Manning.
The University of Tennessee women's basketball team has also developed a reputation as one of the best programs in the country thanks in large part to the coaching of the late Pat Head Summitt. Between 1974 and 2012 under her leadership, the Lady Vols won eight national championships in women's basketball, including one after an undefeated season. The basketball teams play their games at Boling-Thompson Arena, which has a capacity of almost 22.000.
The school's mascot is a hound dog called "Smokey" for the nearby Smokey Mountains. A live Bluetick Coonhound leads the football team onto the field "through the T" before games to the strains of the school's fight song "Down the Field." Fans relish singing "Rocky Top", the school's unofficial fight song, when the team takes the field and after every touchdown. A costumed Smokey mascot wearing the school's colors of orange and white appears at every game and sporting event. Because Neyland Stadium is located beside the Tennessee River, on football Saturdays fans making up what is known as the "Tennessee Navy" arrive and tailgate on boats of all sizes.