The WVU offense turned in an epic performance on Saturday, but the best performance of the weekend might have been that of the WVU fanbase. Our fanbase has gotten a bad reputation over the years (some of it deserved, most of it not), and the move to the Big 12 gives us the opportunity to change that reputation by making a good first impression as our new conference opponents visit Morgantown for the firs time. From the hospitality shown to the Baylor fans to the participation in the stadium striping (which looked awesome, by the way), WVU fans made a very, very good first impression this weekend.
Baylor fans that made the trip to Morgantown have been raving about the treatment the received from WVU fans and about the gameday atmosphere in Morgantown. No negative incidents have been reported, and every report I can find goes on and on about all the handshakes, kind words, and offers of food and drink they received. Many Baylor fans took to WVU message boards to thank us for our hospitality and to Baylor message boards to report on their experience. Here’s a sampling:
“1 person booed me. 40-50 people shook my hand, said hello & welcome, and/or offered me beer. before, during and after the game, some of the kindest people I’ve ever hung out with. easily the best, most welcoming gameday atmosphere I’ve ever experienced on the road. thanks, WVU. glad to have y’all in the conference.”
“… AWESOME atomosphere, outstanding people… I am AWFULLY glad to have WVU as a member.”
“I am going to put this out there right now… that was bar none the best opposing fan experience I have ever had… just an absolute awesome experience.”
“Cannot imagine having a better game day experience (other than the score) than the one we had at WVU! The fans could not have been nicer…not only the fans, but everyone in the town. The tailgating atmosphere was awesome!”
“The experience at West Virginia was absolutely incredible. It was better than game at Nebraska. The fans were gracious, generous… and just over the top nice. I had heard about all of the bad stuff before. It either never existed or they made a concerted effort to be different. My hand hurts from all of the people that intentionally came up to me to shake my hand. They went out of their way to be nice. I had a great time and will definitely be going back in 2 years…”
“Me and 4 college friends made the trip to Morgantown this weekend and we were absolutely blown away by the kindness and hospitality we recieved. By far the best game day experience on the road (or at home) I have ever had…. WVU has now become my new number 2 team behind Baylor in the conference as a result of the treatment and hospitality I recieved in Morgantown
“my experience with WVU fans… was incredible. I’ve never witnessed such welcoming and friendly fans… We had maybe one or two drunken students yell “Sucks to BU” but even that was pretty tame and not threatening in any way. The game day atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced at a road game. The stadium striping was bad as$… the mountaineer mascot is great… and the singing of Country Roads at the end of the game was super cool. When Dixon got knocked silly, the entire home crowd cheered when he got up. It never occurred to me (prior to the trip) how excited WVU was about being in the Big XII. For once, I felt a lot of respect (for Baylor) coming from the opposing team. Incredible game and an awesome atmosphere. I’ll be back in 2014 for sure!”
That’s just a small sample. There are many more out there. Hoppy Kerchival spoke with one on his show Monday morning:
“I will absolutely let [other Big 12 fans] know that Morgantown is a place they need to go and visit. It was just a great experience,” Mark Carroll, a Baylor graduate from Dallas, said on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline.
You can hear the whole interview here.
WVU fans hit the ball out of the park. Oliver Luck released a letter thanking WVU fans for their hospitality this weekend:
I want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all Mountaineer fans for displaying first-class support and hospitality last Saturday during our inaugural Big 12 Conference game against Baylor.
The sight of Milan Puskar Stadium striped in gold and blue was awesome and certainly helped add to the special atmosphere. We appreciate your willingness to wear the assigned color of your section. Not only was it a success, but striping the stadium for this commemorative first game will never be forgotten.
I also want to commend all fans on showing our visitors from Baylor how great West Virginia hospitality truly is. Many phone calls, letters and emails have come in from Baylor fans on the hospitality they received and how beautiful our state and city are. This is the Mountaineer spirit of which we all should be proud.
We’ve always been known as a passionate fanbase who produce a great atmosphere on gameday, but being gracious hosts will set us apart as one of the elite gameday experiences in the country. As we showed this past weekend, we can be loud, support our team, and still make Mountaineer Field welcoming to outsiders.
WVU fans everywhere should be proud of how they conducted themselves this past weekend and we need to make this a habit, not a one time occurrence. I have no doubt that we will get similar reports as Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma, and Kansas make trips to Morgantown later this year. We’ve always known how special WVU gamedays are, and it’s awesome to hear how much outsiders appreciate it. Let’s keep it up. Way to go Mountaineer Nation!