The Man Who Saved WVU’s Season
You could make an argument that one man single-handedly saved West Virginia’s season.
No, it wasn’t Will Grier. And not Ka’Raun White. Nor David Sills.
One of the biggest stories coming out of the recent West Virginia – Texas Tech game wasn’t the Mountaineers’ epic comeback. It was the bombastic effect that one fan had on the stale atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Down 35-17 and the crowd on life support, DMX and a larger than life Mountaineer fan came to the rescue.
Meet Charles Hayes…aka Teddy Bear Hayes…aka DJ Chocolate Thunder. He’s mild mannered Special Education teacher at Buckhannon Upshur Middle School by day, but put him on a Jumbotron and pure magic ensues.
“My big thing is, my kids at school, they know me by my enthusiasm. They know when they come in the classroom, Mr. Hayes is going to be dancing or doing something,” Hayes said of his approach to life.
Hayes attended school at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he was a cheerleader.
“I’ve always been known as the hype man. I’ve always wanted to make people happy through my dance. God blessed me with the ability to dance so I’m going to use get positive reactions from people. No matter what you’re going through, it makes you feel better.”
West Virginia was certainly going through something bad. The Mountaineers were battling, but weren’t able to build any real momentum against the Red Raiders, and things looked bleak until Hayes lit the fuse.
Hayes said he and his fiancé went to the game with two church friends who are season ticket holders. “They said, ‘we have two extra tickets, would you like to go to the game?’ and I said, ‘Of course.’ And the rest is history.”
Hayed didn’t even know that the stadium cameras had focused on him at first.
“My fiancé kind of tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, by the way you’re on the Jumbotron.’ I was dancing and then they took me off for like a few seconds and I heard a couple boos. Then they put me right back on and the whole stadium started roaring. That’s when I knew I had something special going.
“If you notice, I was dancing then when I saw myself I pointed at the screen and gave y’all the goods.”
Hayes said he mimics a lot of iconic dancers, such as Michael Jackson and James Brown.
“I watched them when I was young and I would imitate them. But my biggest influence has been Will Smith on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ The way he acted a fool and his facial expressions, that’s really who I got my style from.”
No one on West Virginia’s team was able to pinpoint the reason for the turnaround in the game, which saw the Mountaineers score 29 consecutive points and turn that deficit into a 46-35 win.
When asked if all the attention seems a bit surreal, Hayes said he’s just enjoying the moment.
“At first it was kind of shocking, but I’m trying to soak it all in. I’m blessed, you know. God put me in this position so I’m just taking it as it comes. My hope that what comes out of this is the turning point for Mountaineer football. I hope the fans get rejuvenated. My job is going to make sure that wherever I am – whatever section I’m in – those fans around me are going to have a good time.”