Where Did HOGEYE come from?

History was made on Saturday, December 3, 2005, by the Livingston Academy football team with their big win over David Lipscomb in the state championship game held in Murfreesboro. What an honor and a well deserved one! We are all very proud of this team, their coach and staff for this first time accomplishment. One of the nice things about living almost on the square is being able to watch parades from our front porch, as we did on Saturday night when the football team, along with their supporters, were escorted into town. It was quite a parade! Thanks to these young men, ole Hogeye has made headlines from one end of the state to the other which brings me to the topic for this entry of my journal. Just where in the world did the name "Hogeye" come from? Even the announcers on the televised broadcast of the game Saturday discussed this subject, and gave information that had been passed on to them from a TSSAA official. I contacted several people after the game on Saturday, and the following stories were passed along to me. I want to emphasize that I have no personal knowledge about how the name came about, and I really don’t believe anyone living today knows for an absolute certainty. However, I do think that the information available, whether accurate or not, should be preserved, and that’s what I’m doing with this journal entry. I’ll begin with the location of Hogeye, and from what I’m told, everything on the right hand side of old Highway 42 in the area of Wirmingham, Bethsaida, and McDonald’s Chapel was known as Hogeye. It wasn’t too many years ago that a sign advertising property for sale in "Hogeye Estates" was placed on the corner of the East Port Dock Road and Highway 111 North, which would indicate to me that folks still consider that Hogeye territory.

Willie Beaty, retired after 38 years of teaching, and part of those years was a basketball coach, told me this: The area around Bethsaida was once a place where much oil and gas drilling was going on, and because of this, that community became quite heavily populated. An area that produced a lot of oil wells was called Bob’s Bar. A pipeline was constructed from Bob’s Bar into Kentucky, but was later shut down because Pickett County charged more than the company wanted to pay to transport the oil and gas through their county. This area was also rich in timber resources, and logging was another industry that employed a pretty good number of men, some of which came from other states to find work. Timber was cut and floated down the Obey River for miles to mills for processing. One particular man that came to the area for work was from Iowa. According to Willie, if a person lived in Iowa, that person was known as a "Hawkeye." Everyone knew this fellow as "Hawkeye", and the whole thing got started because his nickname eventually was mispronounced and changed to "Hogeye".

Willie also told me how the famous cheer for Hogeye got started. The year was 1945, and the Livingston Academy boys basketball team was playing in a tournament held in Cookeville. At this particular game, they were playing against Crossville. Livingston’s team was made up almost entirely of players from Independence, Free Communion, and the Bethsaida communities. It was during that game, the girls in the crowd made up the cheer that is still used today, "H-O-G-E-Y-E, Hogeye, Hogeye, T-N-T."

Wilbur C. Smith, long-time teacher and ball coach from Independence, gave me this information: During the years 1938-1942, most of the Livingston Academy girls basketball team was made up of players from the area known as Hogeye. Ms. Rose Hart Dale was their coach. Members of the team were: Anna Lee Beaty, Veo Boles, Lottie Boles, Linnie Smith; Clomanza Sells, Elwanda Beaty, Ilene Beaty, Eloise Clark, Daphna Garrett, Mildred McDonald, Anna Glen Speck, Betty Windle, Juanita Reeser, and Helen Franklin. (I apologize if we’ve left someone out.) Because the team had so many players from that one area, that’s how the name Hogeye got started.

Derward Vaughn, retired boys basketball coach of Livingston Academy, shared this story with me: When he was a freshman in high school, students would gather around a radiator in the hall and talk before classes began each morning. That particular year, the Livingston Academy girls’ basketball team was having a very poor season, and was the topic of conversation at the radiator one morning. Willie Beaty was in the crowd, and his comment on the girls’ team was that "they couldn’t even beat Hogeye!" Coach Vaughn’s interpretation of Willie’s comment was that this high school girls’ team couldn’t even win a game playing against a grade school team.


Charlie Lee Smith, or C.L., as most everyone in Livingston knew him by, wrote his own version of the Hogeye song.


Charlie Lee Smith, a local businessman in Livingston, was always a big supporter of the Livingston Wildcats, and had a sports program on WLIV radio called "The C.L. Smith Sports Report." His broadcast included updates on national games as well as local sports. In support of Livingston Academy, he wrote his own song called "Hogeye Boogie" that he often played during his broadcast.  Prior to Saturday’s game that was broadcast on WLIV, C.L.’s "Hogeye Boogie" was played. I was able to obtain a CD of that song from C.L.’s son, Aaron, and after a lot of rewinding, I finally got all the words to the song written down. I’m including them here, but having the music to accompany the words makes all the difference. C.L. begins the song with the famous cheer, "H-O-G-E-Y-E, Hogeye, Hogeye, TNT", and then music that makes you want to get up and boogie begins to play. The words are as follows:

"That Hogeye Boogie sure sounds good to me,"

"When you mix it up with a little T-N-T,"

"I don’t know where it come from,"

"But I know it’s gonna live on and on,"

"That Hogeye fight song really turns you on,"

"In Wildcat Country it will always come on strong,"

"We sing Hogeye here at home,"

"We sing it on the road,"

"Now play it boys!"

"I don’t reckon anyone know where that Hogeye stuff got started anyway,"

"Every time you ask a different person, you come up with a different answer,"

"Ole timers say they used to yell out that Hogeye stuff at horseshoe games and at marble games,"

"Well, it must be a real sport that started it,"

"You can hear ‘em yellin’ Hogeye at football games and basketball,"

"Yep, we play that game too here in Wildcat Country,"

"And you can always tell what the score is,"

"When the cheerleaders and the fans start yellin,"

"H-O-G-E-Y-E, Hogeye, Hogeye, T-N-T!"

"That Hogeye Boogie goes on and on and on, you see,"

"When the sun goes down in Middle Tennessee,"

"It’ll start you to hoppin’ around,"

"When you live in this Hogeye Town,"

"Yeah, on and on and on,"

"Yeah, on and on and on,"

"T-N-T and all that kinda stuff,"

"Wildcat Country!"


WLIV radio station’s idea to play C.L.’s song prior to Saturday’s game was a wonderful tribute to one of Livingston Academy’s biggest fans. I feel sure he’s up there smiling today not only because someone remembered to play his song, but most of all, because he’s so proud of his hometown team. Two other sports personalities, John Mark Windle and Mark Houser, that later had a sports talk show on WLIV, used Charlie Lee’s "Hogeye Boogie" as their theme song too. Charlie Lee passed away some 20 years ago, but is alive and well in the memories of many Livingston residents.

Another person I contacted was Drue Huffines, a well known radio personality associated with WLIV radio. Drue has lots of good memories of working with Charlie Lee, but he also had a version of how Hogeye originated. His story is that a group of men from the Independence /Monroe and other neighborhoods in that area would often gather to play various games that included anything from horseshoes to pick up basketball games. And at any time during these games, when a good play was made, or a team had scored, and when a game was won, the word "Hogeye" was yelled. That Drue’s version of how the name got started.

Sometime ago, I received an email from one of my readers, Charlene McMahan. She remembers hearing a story that a young man got off one of the county buses after arriving at the high school one morning and yelled "Hogeye". According to what Charlene was told, that’s how the name got started.

Anyone of these stories might be the way it all began, but I don’t suppose we’ll ever know for sure. But one thing is absolutely certain, a cheer Wilbur C. Smith remembers definitely applies to our winning Livingston Academy Wildcat team for bringing home the state championship trophy Saturday night. That cheer goes like this:

"Buttermilk Avenue, Sweet Milk Street, Hogeye, Hogeye can’t be beat!"

(Right Click HERE and select "Save Target As" to save the Hogeye Song on your computer.)