Standing in the center of Milan Puskar Stadium, at halftime of a WVU football game and in front of 62,000 people, he wasn’t sure if he was going to win.
He didn’t think he had a great shot at becoming Homecoming king, but he wasn’t completely counting himself out, either. And when he did win, he couldn’t help but laugh.
“I was stunned. I’m pretty sure whenever they said it, I looked around and just started laughing,” said Ted Dillie, WVU’s 2019 Homecoming king and a senior Honors student studying biochemistry. “It was so surreal.”
In addition to being an Honors student, Dillie is also the alternate Mountaineer mascot, something he believes helped in his campaign for king. He said it wasn’t the notoriety that helped his campaign gain supporters, but instead his comfortability around people and his ability to get to know them.
“I spent my first three years just kind of getting to know everyone and being nice, not for any purpose, but just being social and making friends,” Dillie said. “I always tried to be familiar and a good face to be around for anyone.”
He said being prepared to take on the challenge of campaigning also alleviated much of the anxiety around the process, too.
“I never felt stressed or the pressure of trying to get votes,” the Weirton, West Virginia, native said.
Despite being crowned king, leading up to the announcement of the Homecoming court, Dillie wasn’t sure if he was even going to run. Due to this, he didn’t order campaign t-shirts or a banner in advance as other candidates did. Instead, he relied on a heavy social media presence.
Dillie and his team tried to use humor to connect with people online, but were wary of tweeting too much or, even worse, having people not believe their content was funny.
Connecting with people was the main focus of Dillie’s campaign — being one of the reasons he ran and one of the reasons he won — and is a focus he looks to continue with the title of king.
“Honestly, I thought it was a symbolic thing,” Dillie said on his decision to run for Homecoming king. “I know last year, using Doug [Ernest jr.] and Kendra [Lobban] whenever they won, they were able to use their positions and go help. To go hand out toys at the children’s hospital, I thought was a really cool thing to do for the community. I thought, ‘Why not?’ If I can be involved in that, if I can go help the community through Homecoming king, I would love to do that.
Dillie not only wants to better the WVU community through being named Homecoming king, but he was also wants to bring notoriety to his hometown. Weirton, a city of 19,000 people in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, is often overlooked in Dillie’s eyes, but he wishes to change that.
“I’m happy to be able to win and just let everyone know that here’s my hometown and here’s where I’m from — we do great things too,” Dillie said. “Obviously, I love being able to do things and succeed so my community looks good.”
Now, after naming a Homecoming king and queen, WVU turns its attention to next year’s Homecoming festivities and preparations. There will be a new batch of candidates and people looking to wear the crown, and Dillie said there will be challenges, but to know that everyone is going through them as well and to have fun.
“Be excited about the process,” Dillie said. “Don’t go through and make yourself miserable trying to campaign, because that’s not the point of the whole process. I think it’s to bring the community together through like ideals and like values. Why beat yourself up over it when that’s the opposite of what it’s supposed to be doing?”
Teresa Hoang, the 2019 Homecoming queen, will be featured in the Daily Athenaeum’s next paper issue on Monday, Oct. 14.