For every home game, the Hokies come out of the tunnel and onto the field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” playing and, folks, it is epic. It’s especially so when Virginia Tech has a big home game at night, as is the case against No. 6 Notre Dame on Oct. 6 (8 p.m. ET), and ABC always does an especially great job of airing cool entrances (here was Clemson’s).
The tradition has been around since 2000. After Virginia Tech installed a new scoreboard, the athletics marketing department wanted a new song for the team to come out to. It was between “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses and "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project before Metallica’s hit was chosen.
"For me, it was great because of the rhythm of it," Roger Springfield, the producer of the Hokies' original "Enter Sandman" video, told the Washington Post. "The beats in it, the rhythm — for editing purposes, it lent itself well to what we were talking about doing."
1. The crowd in Lane Stadium gets absolutely jacked as soon as it starts.
This on-field video is from 2015’s game against the then-No. 1 Ohio State on Memorial Day night:
Look, if that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.
2. In 2011, the stadium played it late in a 38-35 victory over Miami.
It’s usually a pregame song, so when it fired up right before a play, the crowd lost its mind.
3. Before that same game’s intro, Metallica itself appeared on the video board.
4. The crowd noise at Lane Stadium registers on seismographs.
The first one was before that 2011 Miami game:
And from the 2015 game against Ohio State:
5. Fans and everyone on the field jump around when the song is played:
In case you’re wondering how a college football game can be measured by a seismograph:
This part didn’t start initially with the introduction of “Enter Sandman.” The trend was actually started by Tech’s band:
Before one particularly chilly night game, some of the Virginia Tech marching band members started jumping up and down to keep warm before the team's entrance. Soon, everyone copied.
"The next thing you know the whole band is jumping up and down," David McKee, the director of the Marching Virginians, said via the Washington Post. "And then next thing you know the whole stadium is jumping up and down. It was one of those accidental traditions."
6. In 2007, both Virginia Tech and East Carolina took the field to the song together.
This was one of the most special entrances, being the first after the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007.
7. When Frank Beamer retired in 2015, Metallica had a special message for the former Hokies head coach.
8. Brad Paisley covered the song during a concert in 2015.
The concert was in Blacksburg, so this was a definite must to add to his set list.
9. Even during neutral-site games, VT fans are lit when the song’s played.
In the first weekend of 2017, it was played before the Hokies’ game against West Virginia in Landover, Md. Listen to how dang loud this place gets, and it’s not even Lane Stadium!
10. On social media, the hashtag #ExitLight is associated with the song and VT football.
The song’s chorus begins with “Exit light, enter night,” so it’s become a fun hashtag to use.
11. A newer tradition: Playing the song at commencement.
Yep, everyone jumps there, too.
Thanks to the brilliant idea Tech had in 2000, “Enter Sandman” is now a staple of Hokie football. Again from the Washington Post:
The song can often be heard downtown, blasting from passing cars or from inside the bars.
Tim East was then the assistant athletic director of marketing and promotions who oversaw the first "Enter Sandman" video. Asked recently if he could have envisioned the song's popularity, East said, "Not in my wildest imagination."