Former Hilltopper Mike White grabs attention at C-USA Tournament

Former Hilltopper quarterback Mike White watches on as the WKU quarterback competes in the Conference USA Tournament. The Hilltoppers fell to Old Dominion in the championship round on Saturday, March 16. 

Drake Kizer

Everything is bigger in Texas.

That is very true as it relates to former WKU quarterback Mike White, who sat court-side at the Ford Center at The Star last week, taking in the WKU men’s basketball team’s run to the championship game of the Conference USA Tournament.

The Star, which houses the C-USA Tournament each season, is also home to the Dallas Cowboys’ world headquarters, according to the facility’s website.

Currently entering his second season as a backup quarterback for the Cowboys, White was in a position to welcome the Hilltoppers to his workplace in a big way.

White, situated directly across from head coach Rick Stansbury’s bench, was anxious to see his alma mater take the floor in a place that’s become like a second home to him since he was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by America’s Team.

“I want to come and watch the Tops play,” White said. “And obviously being in The Star where I’m at all the time is pretty cool, but I just wanted to — honestly, just come out here and be a fan for the first time and just watch a really, really fun basketball team play.”

{{tncms-inline account=”Mike White” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">LETS GO TOPS! <a href="">@WKUBasketball</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Mike White (@MikeWhiteQB) <a href="">March 17, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

While White’s presence alone would have been more than enough to excite Hilltopper fans everywhere, the Cowboys’ backup decided to up the ante by bringing Cowboys’ starting quarterback Dak Prescott and a few other teammates to watch WKU with him on Thursday and Friday.

“Yeah, some guy named Dak Prescott was there next to me, I don’t know, I didn’t talk to him too much,” White said while trying not to crack a smile on March 14. “No — but yeah, they wanted to come out and support. We’ve been talking about it all week because they knew the tournament would be here and they came out and they luckily saw us get a dub.”

According to Sun Herald reporter Patrick Magee on Twitter, Prescott watched multiple quarterfinal games on Thursday night.

The franchise quarterback saw WKU defeat North Texas on Court A, while also going to see Southern Mississippi overtake Marshall on Court B.

{{tncms-inline account=”Patrick Magee” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is making his way between the Southern Miss-Marshall and WKU-North Texas basketball games in the C-USA Tournament.They're playing at the rather large Cowboys practice facility in Frisco, Texas.</p>— Patrick Magee (@Patrick_Magee) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

At one point in the Hilltoppers’ 67-51 win over North Texas, Prescott, a Mississippi State graduate, briefly traded his maroon Adidas headgear for a red hat adorned with WKU’s red towel logo.

“We got him to be a Tops fan for a little bit,” White said with a laugh.

With a tip of his cap, Prescott set Twitter ablaze. WKU football, WKU basketball, C-USA and WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart subsequently chimed in with their thoughts.

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Hilltopper Basketball” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So ⁦<a href="">@MikeWhiteQB</a>⁩ is also out here making some new Hilltopper fans 👀 <a href="">#GoTops</a> <a href=""></a></p>— WKU Hilltopper Basketball (@WKUBasketball) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Conference USA” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A pair of <a href="">@dallascowboys</a> QBs sitting courtside for a big <a href="">#CUSAMBB</a> matchup!Looks like <a href="">@MikeWhiteQB</a> is converting <a href="">@dak</a> into a Hilltopper 👀 <a href=""></a></p>— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”Todd Stewart” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Shout out to ⁦<a href="">@WKUFootball</a>⁩ alum and current <a href="">@dallascowboys</a> QB and all around great player and person ⁦<a href="">@MikeWhiteQB</a>⁩ for supporting ⁦<a href="">@WKUBasketball</a>⁩ tonight! And bringing teammate ⁦<a href="">@dak</a>⁩ with him! <a href="">#GoTops</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Todd Stewart (@ToddStewartWKU) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Football” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">He's a Hilltopper now, <a href="">@HailStateFB</a>. Those are the rules. <a href=""></a></p>— WKU Football (@WKUFootball) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

Even Big Red had to get in on the action, snapping a frame with the two-time Pro Bowler (who had since changed out of his WKU hat).

{{tncms-inline account=”Big Red” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hey <a href="">@dak</a>, <a href="">#GoTops</a> am I right??? 👏 <a href=""></a></p>— Big Red (@WKUBigRed) <a href="">March 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

Although it may seem wild that Prescott, the most decorated quarterback in Mississippi State’s storied history, would represent another program, the unique camaraderie that has formed between the starter and his backup makes the gesture a lot more plausible.

{{tncms-inline account=”Mike Leslie” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dak Prescott and Mike White trying to hit the crossbar from 50 yards. White connects ✅<a href="">#CowboysCamp</a> <a href="">#DallasCowboys</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) <a href="">August 21, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

White said he has an “awesome” relationship with Prescott and Cooper Rush, the other two members of the Cowboys’ three-man quarterback room.

“We’re all real tight-knit and we all kind of help each other out,” White said. “It’s a real, real good group.”

Prescott was court-side beside White again on Friday afternoon, watching the Hilltoppers defeat Southern Miss 70-59 in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.

The Cowboys’ star was nowhere to be found on Saturday night, but Prescott had already made a lasting impact on the C-USA Tournament and the WKU faithful.

A two-year starter at WKU, White is no stranger to racking up stats and accolades on the playing field, namely 8,540 passing yards, 63 touchdowns and an average of 316 passing yards per game during his junior and senior seasons on the Hill.

But this weekend White was helping the Hilltoppers try to achieve victory with words of encouragement and positive thinking, not his dazzling deep balls.

Despite the fact he couldn’t directly affect the outcomes, the Pembroke Pines, Florida, native was just happy to be watching WKU men’s basketball in Frisco, Texas.

“Any time I’m around the Bowling Green family and watching the Tops play is fun,” White said. “I’m glad I can be here and hopefully see much more games this weekend.”

White said he would definitely be in attendance to watch the Hilltoppers until they were eliminated, adding matter-of-factly, “As long as they’re here, I’m here.”

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Hilltopper Basketball” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">When you've got <a href="">@MikeWhiteQB</a> back for a THIRD GAME rocking the WKU hoops jersey again, how can you go wrong? <a href="">#GoTops</a></p>— WKU Hilltopper Basketball (@WKUBasketball) <a href="">March 17, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

The 23-year-old was true to his word, sitting court-side at each contest until the final buzzer sounded on a 62-56 loss to Old Dominion. It marked the second time in as many seasons that WKU has fallen short of an NCAA Tournament bid in the C-USA finals.

Though the Hilltoppers suffered a heartbreaking defeat, White was still upbeat.

White, who changed his Twitter avatar to a photo of he and his fiancée court-side at the C-USA Tournament, summed up his time as a fan in a heartfelt tweet directed at WKU men’s basketball after the game.

{{tncms-inline account=”Mike White” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">That was a lot of fun. Thank you <a href="">@WKUBasketball</a></p>— Mike White (@MikeWhiteQB) <a href="">March 17, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

Sports reporter Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected] Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.