Wednesday, March 12th, 1997
Happy Birthday, Hokie Central!
Those were the first words ever posted here at Hokie Central, on the night of March 12, 1996, as the page debuted under the title "Will Stewart's Hokie Sports Home Page" (at the time, the words "Welcome to Hokie Central" appeared below that title and would later serve as the inspiration for the current name of the site).
It was the week after the 1996 NCAA tournament pairings were announced, and I was preparing to go off about the fact that Tech had received a #9 seed, pairing them up with (yawn) Wisconsin-Green Bay. All for the right to serve as cannon fodder for Kentucky in the second round.
We all know how that came out, and we also know that at Hokie Central, the whining is never really "out of the way," and certainly not early. When you've got plenty of inspiration, such as the AP pollsters, ESPN/ABC, and Lee Corso to rage about, there's ample opportunity for complaining.
I have no idea how many hits the site received that first day (probably about 10), but I'm sure that every one of them was a pity visit from friends and family that I had begged to come take a look. It didn't take long for Hokie Central to start building traffic, though - the key was when links to Hokie Central were placed on Mike Bakas's "Big East College Football" site, as well as "Hokie.com" and Chris McCrea's Virginia Tech recruiting site.
Now it's a full year and many late nights later. Along the way, I made a lot of great friends through the site, and I even got married (but that had nothing to do with Hokie Central). I wanted to say "thanks" to everybody who has expressed their appreciation during the last year by emailing me, as well as to everybody who has participated in the site, both through the Mailbag and a couple of non-Hokie Central "My Opinion" pieces. And, of course, by posting messages on the new message board.
To celebrate Hokie Central's first birthday, I did the only thing I know how to do - I heaped more work upon myself. I went through the archives for the first year and put together a piece that I've posted on a new page here at Hokie Central, the "Special Features" page. To read the birthday celebration, go back to the main page and click on the "Special Features" link.
But before you do that, keep reading. I've got some big news about where we go from here.
The Future of This Not-So-Humble Web Site
First of all, let me again say thanks to everybody who has hit the page this past year and made it such a success. Ive enjoyed doing it, and Im glad so many of you appreciate the effort.
The only place for Hokie Central to go from here is up. As Im fond of hinting, Ive got big plans for this site. Ive already reserved the domain name hokiecentral.com, and I plan on moving the site to a web page hosting service that will be able to give me more storage space and better service, allowing me to bring you more of what you want to see on this site: photos, surveys, and other special features that I cant pack into the small 1 Meg of space that my current ISP provides.
Ill get straight to the point. Im not NEARLY done with what Ive got planned for Hokie Central. Im currently working on becoming licensed to create and sell Virginia Tech merchandise, so I can come up with a line of Hokie Central merchandise and market it through the web site. I also plan to offer such neat items as printed and bound copies of the Hokie Central archives, so you can have a yearly copy of Hokie Central archives to keep forever as a valuable reference and entertainment tool.
As I get further along, Ill have other ideas that I havent even thought of yet, and Im sure that you will, too.
As you can imagine, this all costs money. A lot of money, for the web page hosting service, the Virginia Tech licensing fees, and the cash Ill need to purchase inventory. There are different way to raise the cash, and one thing I definitely didnt want to do was make Hokie Central a subscription site.
I pondered just asking for donations, but I wasnt really comfortable with that idea, either. I wanted to go beyond simple donations and provide people with something in return for any cash contributions they make.
Thats where a special plan Ive created comes in. Im now offering Hokie Central memberships as a way for more enthusiastic Hokie Central readers to contribute to the site and help me take it to the next level. The basic concept behind a Hokie Central membership is that you mail in a contribution for the site, and in exchange, Ill send you Hokie Central merchandise and set you up to receive a Hokie Central email newsletter.
And to show you that Im serious about this, Ive already spent over $200 of my own money in reserving the domain name hokiecentral.com and doing such business-related things as purchasing a P.O. box. To check out Hokie Centrals future site, click on www.hokiecentral.com.
To find out all the details about Hokie Central membership, either click on the Hokie Central Membership link on Hokie Centrals main page, or just click here, which will take you directly there: Hokie Central Membership.
Take a look at what I've got to say there, and I hope you decide to become a Hokie Central member!