Our History


Tennessee Sporting Goods was originally founded in 1951 by former University of Tennessee football player Patrick H. “Buddy” Pike.

Originally from West Virginia, Buddy played football at West Virginia University in 1943 before moving to Knoxville and becoming a star end for the University of Tennessee for 3 years, 1944-1946, playing in the Orange and Rose Bowls and also lettered a year in Basketball.

Finishing at the University of Tennessee, Buddy went on to coach and teach at Harrison Chilhowee Baptist Academy in 1947 before helping start Halls High School’s football program and having the honor of being Halls first ever football coach from 1948 to 1951.

Patrick “Buddy” Pike posing for a newspaper photograph commemorating the opening of the store.

In 1951 Patrick “Buddy” Pike left coaching at Halls High School and opened the doors to his new business Tennessee Sporting Goods.

Newspaper ad from 1970

With the help of investors Chuck Swann and Ira McCollister, Tennessee Sporting Goods opened its original location at 1800 E Magnolia Avenue. As a full service sporting goods store, offering fishing and hunting supplies, as well as golf, baseball, football and basketball equipment; Buddy eventually bought out his partners and recruited the help of his two Central High School student sons, Pepper and Joel.

Patrick “Buddy” Pike in the early 1950’s, displaying a wide selection of fishing supplies.

Tennessee Sporting Goods moved to Fountain City in 1979. By then both Pepper and Joel were working full time, and they continued working with their father until his unexpected passing in 1998.

Pepper and Joel continued to streamline the family business without their father, specializing more in team sports, uniforms, and equipment. The business flourished up to Joel’s passing in 2003, when it fell to the sole leadership of Patrick E. “Pepper” Pike.

Pepper, a former UT Football player himself, became somewhat of a Fountain City icon bringing the store into it’s then 50th year.

In the 2001 News-Sentinel interview celebrating the anniversary Pepper said “It’s great being around and helping young kids all the time,” adding with a smile “and not having to wear a coat and tie to work.

Pepper was a lifelong bachelor, having no children of his own, so when he passed away suddenly in 2021 his long employed second in command Jerrad Kidd continues the Pike family legacy today with the help of his wife Melody, making the store a true “Mom-and-Pop” business.

Current owners Jerrad and Melody Kidd


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