When 60,000 people – most clad in the gold and blue that represents West Virginia University—file into Milan Puskar Stadium on a fall Saturday, the site becomes the biggest city in the state. But even when the Mountaineers aren’t playing, those colors are worn like a permanent badge of pride by citizens of the University City.
For its dedication to the Mountaineers and all things gold and blue, Morgantown has been listed as one of eight of “America’s Top College Football Towns” by Budget Travel.
“Anyone who has been in Morgantown for a WVU home football game knows just how exciting these type of events are,” Morgantown mayor Bill Byrne said. “Morgantown is extremely proud of our relationship with WVU and the home football games are something we all look forward to. Through a variety of means, the city is working to become the best college town in America.
“We’re excited about this honor,” he added. “It’s well deserved and we look forward to continued collaboration with the University.”
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Said WVU President James P. Clements, “It’s an honor to be named to this list, along with other great universities and towns. Game days in Morgantown are magical. People not only love and support the team but are in love with the marching band—the Pride of West Virginia. It is clear that Morgantown is the hub of Mountaineer Nation.”
Budget Travel’s website features a capsule description of Morgantown, including tourist attractions, accommodations and football ticket information. It describes Morgantown as an “unassuming city,” that is “far from stuck in the past.”
Listed alphabetically, the others on the list are Austin, Texas (University of Texas), Boise, Idaho (Boise State), Eugene, Ore. (University of Oregon), Knoxville, Tenn. (University of Tennessee), Madison, Wis. (University of Wisconsin), Manoa, Hawaii (University of Hawaii) and Oxford, Miss. (University of Mississippi).
“In any of these eight destinations, you’ll find true grit on the gridiron and more than enough off-campus attractions to justify staying the weekend,” the site says.
Making the Budget Travel list is another in a long roster of accolades for Morgantown.
BizJournals.com described the city as the “No. 1 dreamtown” in the country and it was ranked as the Best Small City in the East and as third-best in America by the Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities. In the American Institute for Economic Research’s 2009-2010 College Destinations Index, Morgantown placed 19th in the “college towns” category.
The Sporting News described Morgantown as the 25th best sports city in the nation, despite being ranked among cities with professional sports teams.
MSN Careers named Morgantown one of the Best Cities for Jobs and it ranked No. 2 on Forbes’ list for “Best College Towns for Jobs.” Also, according to Forbes, Morgantown is the fifth-best place for business and careers among towns with populations less than 150,000.
Other rankings include the 29th smartest place to live in the US by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; the 12th hottest small city: boomtown by Inc.; and the third-best small town in America by Men’s Journal.
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WVU Office of News