Santa Vol: ‘Happy Volidays’

Santa Vol: ‘Happy Volidays’

Football

Santa Vol: ‘Happy Volidays’

WAVERLY – Santa Vol is a familiar face on game day.

The familiar face is seen dressed in an orange Santa suit at UT games and events.

With Christmas Day here, Santa Vol wished a “Happy Volidays” to Vol supporters and also discussed how he started dressing in the orange suit.

The first game he dressed out for was the Vanderbilt game in 2015, two days after Thanksgiving and with the Christmas season taking place.

“I thought it would be fun to do,” Santa Vol told Vols Wire. “I had thought of doing it for several years, but just never took the time to find an orange Santa suit.

“So I ordered one online and stopped shaving at the end of September and hoped I would have a decent beard by the end of November.”

After the regular season finale against Vanderbilt in 2015, Santa Vol made an appearance at UT’s matchup against Northwestern in the Outback Bowl taking place in Tampa.

“Originally I was only going to dress up for late season games,” Santa Vol said. “But after the first time I had my mother make a “summer suit” and I wore it to the Outback Bowl.”

Much like the anticipation of the football team entering the 2016 season as SEC East favorites, Vol Santa also had buzz around him, too.

“That summer Chip McCallum messaged me to ask if I was going to be at the Alabama game,” Santa Vol said of the former UT kicker. “I told him I would be there, but I was not planning on dressing as Santa. He told me that he would have his daughter with me and was hoping to get a picture. He also explained that he could get me into the Letterman’s Room before the game. So I decided that I could dress up for the game.

“After that it was seldom a week went by where I would not get a message or an email from someone asking if I would be at this game or that game. So I started dressing for every game. I would not say dress year round, but I do dress for UT related events.”

 

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Being from Waverly, Tenn., four hours away from Knoxville, distance has not been an issue for attending more events and games with the end result being making children happy.

“I never realized how good it would feel to be able to see the face on a little kid or someone with special needs when they see an orange Santa,” he said. “There have been a few times when a reaction has honestly put a lump in my throat. At one game this season a little guy in a wheel chair just kept laughing and saying HO HO HO or GO VOLS. It was so awesome.

“We took a picture together and as he and his parents left us, I looked at my mother and we just kind of nodded at each other. I said ‘yeah, I don’t think I need to try to talk for a minute!’ – it just gets you sometimes. The pureness of the joy that you see, it is incredible. I tell folks this suit is a blessing. I have some kids that I have seen at practically every game. I have had parents thank me because their son or daughter will only scream or cry with real Santa, but they finally have a picture with Santa smiling! Hearing stuff like that really makes me proud of this thing I have accidently created.”

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