Fan Support

There are thousands, if not millions, of web pages on the Internet devoted to sports stars (and some that aren't so stellar). So what would make a group of Mountaineer fans pitch in to create another one – even if the subject was the greatest player in West Virginia football history?

It started with Doug Cross, who believed that every bit of publicity for WVU senior quarterback Patrick White could help him in his quest for the Heisman Trophy. Even though White would quickly say that winning the Heisman isn't among his top goals for the season, Cross and his design team know that any publicity for White also reflects well on WVU.

"Luckily, I had some very talented people [to draw upon," said Cross. "Two in particular -- Brian Jolliff, who handled the web design, and John Hodgkinson, who headed the Application/Data Architecture and Development-- allowed us to create a top-notch website and campaign.

"The motivation behind the creation of the website was the passion for WVU football and our admiration and thanks for all that Pat White has given to us and our fellow Mountaineer fans," Jolliff added. "White is the most dynamic, exciting and effective quarterback in college football today. He is certainly the best quarterback ever at WVU, in our estimation. In my 30-plus years of following WVU football, I've seen a lot of great players… but none more exciting than number five."

Of course, West Virginia University has also created an informational web site for White, although it studiously avoids any mention of the Heisman Trophy. Knowing that, Jolliff and the design team contacted WVU to avoid any potential conflicts.

"We understand that WVU's primary concerns are to protect the student athlete and WVU," Jolliff observed. "Many of their concerns were also concerns of ours, so we fully understood their guarded position. is a site created by WVU and Pat White fans. We are non-commercial and all of the time and services that went into creating this website have been donated by the contributing members. The West Virginia University Athletic Department, along with Blaine Turner Advertising has created a superb web site in (which is excellent). We do not see our website as a competitor to WVU's official site, but as complementary. Our primary goal is to be an aggregate site for all media posted across the Internet and try to increase awareness of Pat White's Heisman drive, and to give fans, voters, bloggers and sports journalists a nexus of all things "Pat White".

Jolliff, a seasoned web designer, knows that sites promoting candidacies are more and more common, but he believes that any bit of notice could help West Virginia's senior quarterback.

"Even if we are able to slightly increase the nation's awareness of Pat White and provide all of his supporters and fans a place where they can inform and entertain themselves, then we will have accomplished part of our mission. Historically, it's not clear how effective web sites, billboards or other campaigns are in persuading voters. But if it can impress just a handful of Heisman voters while they are visiting our site, we think they will realize how much Pat means to his fan base and that there must be a good reason for it."

While the creators of are obviously trying to boost his candidacy, they also know that the subject of their site isn't about individual awards first. That's reflected in the one question Jolliff would ask White if given the chance.

"I think I know how important team success is to him, and the drive our team has to win a National Championship, but I'd still probably ask him how badly he (and the team) wants a shot at the National Title, and to get his thoughts to how realistic that possibility is."

Like all election efforts, this one will eventually pass. December will come, Heisman votes will be due, and all the White sites, while still likely available online, will have served their purpose. So is this just a one shot deal for the crew? Definitely not, according to Jolliff.

"Every one of our contributors has thoroughly enjoyed working on this web site for the last several months. There is a real joy to working on a project such as this, where you have so much passion invested in it. We have already discussed working on a campaign for other players next year, but we'll need to see how they progress this year. With all of the new guys in the mix this year, you really don't know who will perform when the lights come on. Time will tell.

In the end, Jolliff and his design mates have one thing in common.

"We're all fanatics to varying degrees. I think we'd classify ourselves as crazy, diehard, but reasonable fans. We'll certainly continue to support our football team, the athletic department and WVU, and we will always be looking for opportunities to be active and supportive in the future. Whether it is creating videos, websites or contributing money and time, it is part of what we believe being a true fan is."

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