The 28th class of honorees for the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame has been announced by Athletic Director Shane Lyons. The class will include the most dynamic duo to wear the old gold and blue in Pat White and Steve Slaton. The other nine honorees are: Meg Bulger (basketball), Jon Capon (soccer), Avon Cobourne (football), Mike Gansey (basketball), Tom Keane (football), Larry Krutko (football), Eleanor Lamb (admin), Bev Fry Plocki (gymnastics), and Web Wright (rifle).
White and Slaton came to the West Virginia Mountaineers as freshman in 2005. White was a two-sport star who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Anaheim Angels. He was later drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 and New York Yankees in 2009. White was originally recruited by LSU to play wide receiver but WVU was willing to give White a chance to play quarterback.
White started his freshman season sharing time with Adam Bednarik, great nephew of NFL legend Chuck Bednarik. Bednarik was injured in the seventh game of the season against Louisville. White entered the game with the Mountaineers down 24-7 and led the greatest comeback victory in a 46-44 overtime victory for the Mountaineers. The victory galvanized the team and led the team to their first BCS bowl, the Sugar Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs. Due to Hurricane Katrina, the game was played in the Atlanta Superdome. Despite the homefield advantage enjoyed by the Bulldogs, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 28-0 lead and hung on to a 38-35 victory.
With White at the helm of the new spread read-option offense employed by Rich Rodriguez, running back Steve Slaton provided the perfect compliment. White could hand the ball off to Slaton, who’s 4.45 speed allowed him to outrun nearly any defender. If White pulled the ball, defenses were unable to keep up with the speedster from Daphne. Slaton set the school record for rushing yards in a season in 2006 when he rushed for 1,744 yards. In the 99th Backyard Brawl against the Pittsburgh Panthers, Slaton became the first Mountaineer player to record 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game. Slaton finished the game with 4 touchdowns, 215 yards rushing and a 130 yards receiving, leading Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt to remark that his team “needed to get faster” if they wanted to beat the Mountaineers.
The two playmakers for West Virginia led the team to 33 wins in their three years together. They helped the Mountaineers win both the 2005 Sugar Bowl and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Slaton would declare for the NFL Draft after the 2007 season while White stayed on for his senior year. As a senior, White became the first and only NCAA player to start and win four bowl games. White finished his final collegiate game with his only 300-yard passing performance. For his efforts White was named MVP of the bowl game for the third consecutive time.
Pat White finished his college career as the NCAA leader in rushing yards for a quarterback with 4,480 yards and 47 rushing touchdowns.