The story behind ‘Rocky Top’

There are no mountains at Stratford, and the campus is not in Tennessee, but here is an explanation why it's our fight song

September 29, 2017

If you live in the state of Georgia,  you are not completely comfortable hearing the “Rocky Top” — the fight song of the University of Tennessee.

On Saturday, Tennessee plays Georgia in a classic Southeastern Conference rivalry. Bulldog fans hope to silence “Rocky Top”  at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Stratford fans, however, hope to hear it early and often Friday night when the Eagles travel to play cross-town rival Mount de Sales in the first region game of the season.

Since 1980, “Rocky Top” has been the go-to song for a big basket or touchdown for the Stratford Eagles.

According to band director Ms. Laura Voss, the school’s marching band had a halftime show in the 1980s based on Southern music. Rocky Top was played during the performance. It was such a hit, it became Stratford’s fight song during basketball season.

The Eagles were losing the game and, when played Rocky Top was played in the stands, the team started winning. The basketball team viewed Rocky Top as their good luck song and requested it to be played at the next game.

The song was played the rest of the season.  The next football season, the football team requested for the same song to be played when they ran out on the field.

Over the years, Rocky Top became the fight song, although it is not the official fight song. The chosen fight song when Stratford was established was “Navy Blue and Gold” from the University of Michigan. But it has not been played at Stratford in more than 30 years.

Stratford currently has two fight songs — “The Spirit of Stratford”  fight song and “Rocky Top,” which was originally made popular by the University of Tennessee in the early 1970s.

Head Football Coach Mark Farriba said he supports whatever the band decides to play, even though he is a former University of Georgia football player.

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