Jan. 3, 2000
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The question has come up so often that Virginia Tech wide
receiver Andre Davis memorized his answer.
What’s a Hokie?
“I would think that more people would have known by now, that they would
have looked it up or something,” Davis said. “A Hokie, I think, went back to
a chant we had a long time ago, and it has been a pretty dominant question this
Actually, the writer’s name was O.M. Stull, and he invented the word
“Hokie” just to draw attention to his entry in an 1896 contest to come up
with a new school cheer.
It won, and ever since, Virginia Tech players have been known as Hokies.
They also have been known as the Fighting Gobblers, but that nickname is rarely
used any more. After all, a pugilistic turkey can’t be any better than a
“Hokie,” can it?
These Hokies, however, are different than any others that have worn the
maroon and burnt orange uniforms in the school’s history. They have a chance to
be the first Virginia Tech team to win the national championship.
It’s an opportunity coach Frank Beamer thinks will only add more fans to the
thousands who have hopped on the Hokies’ bandwagon in recent years. More than
40,000 of them tried to get tickets for the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.
Their role as underdogs against mighty Florida State can’t hurt, either.
“I would think, if I was out there, I would say here’s a team that you
really like pulling for,” Beamer said, “and I’ve heard a lot of people who
watch us play, because we play so hard, so emotional, say they kind of like
what we’re all about.”
Forget the cows all over the outskirts of campus that dominates little
Blacksburg, Va. Virginia Tech is one of the nation’s top public institutions,
ranking 28th in a recent study of universities by U.S. News and World Report.
And lately, it’s played football like almost no one else, making seven
straight bowl trips and beating four ranked opponents by a combined 174-31 this
season. That includes a 62-0 victory against then-No. 16 Syracuse, the biggest
rout of a ranked team in the 63-year history of The Associated Press poll.
And now, here they are, ready to challenge the top-ranked Seminoles for the
national title in their second Sugar Bowl trip in four years.
The first, by the way, resulted in a 28-10 victory against Texas, a win the
school referred to as the biggest in its history until this season.
They hope to change that one more time on Tuesday night.
What’s a Hokie? Well, nothing but a word, really.
It dates to 1896 when Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College changed
its name to the current official name, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and held
a contest for a new school cheer.
Senior O.M. Stull won for his “Old Hokie” yell, which still is used. He
said “Hokie” didn’t have any special or symbolic meaning and that he’d
thought up the word to draw attention to his entry.
Hokies soon became the nickname for all of Virginia Tech’s sports teams.
Stull’s “Old Hokie” yell:
Hokie, Hoki, Hoki Hy!
Tech! Tech! V.P.I!
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.