ALABAMA-TENNESSEE GAME KEEPS ITS LONGSTANDING CIGAR TRADITION

Cigar Tradition00000000

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It’s a tradition begun by then-head University of Alabama athletic trainer Jim Goosetree in the 1950s: The victory cigar.

Goostree was the only coach Paul W. Bryant kept on from the previous staff after he was hired as the Crimson Tide’s head football coach. But Goosetree was from Tennessee, so beating the Volunteers was a big deal.

The tradition was kept a secret between the teams for years due to NCAA rules on tobacco use, but both teams have knowingly violated the rule in honor of the tradition since 2005.

This year, Alabama is going for its 10th straight win against the Vols, but Bryant Museum Director Ken Gaddy said that doesn’t mean it won’t be a great game.

“Even when there have been these runs, they’ve always been good games,” he said. “Tight games, close games. You always expect that when you play Tennessee.”

Local cigar shop R and R Cigars has been in Tuscaloosa for five years now, and co-owner Randy Starner said that tradition was news to him.

“It took us by surprise the first year, I have to admit,” he said.

But it’s a surprise that’s been great for business.

“Every year it’s been the busiest week of the year,” he said. “And we expect this week to be no different.”

This is the first meeting since 2006 that both teams have been ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press poll.

 

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