The Story of Hokietapes: “Years upon years of work, gone in an instant.”

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The “Hokietapes” account on YouTube used to have hundreds of Virginia Tech athletic events — like the 1998 Music City Bowl — archived, but the channel was removed by YouTube in April of 2020. (YouTube screen cap)

In the beginning, it was just the typical sort thing a Hokie fan would do. Ryan Foster would pop the VHS tape in and record the Virginia Tech games he attended in order to rewatch later and look for himself and his family in the stands.

Despite growing up in Hampton Roads, Foster would spend many afternoons in Blacksburg, where his grandfather was a sociology professor from 1972-2007, teaching the likes of Bruce Smith and Michael Vick. His affinity for the Hokies sparked an even deeper endeavor.

“I would say at some point around 2004 is when I said, ‘You know what, I record all these games. I might as well start saving them.’ That was probably when I started actually collecting them,” Foster said.

And thus Hokietapes was born. Well, not exactly.

At first, Foster continued recording games, but he didn’t have a place to upload all of them yet. He recalls other TSL posters who would record games and clip out individual plays to upload online in those early days. During this