MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For Pat Eger, giving back and providing an act of kindness is nothing new.
“It's in my blood and in my nature. My mom always taught me that sometimes it's better to give than receive,” said Eger. “That's how I was raised.”
The former West Virginia offensive lineman who concluded his Mountaineer career this past November, decided to do one last deed inside the confines of the WVU football facilities – donate his hair to charity.
Sunday afternoon, Eger, his family and friends gathered in the Player’s Lounge at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Eger had been growing his hair out since September of 2010, when he and another former Mountaineer great decided to skip the barbershop over a friendly wager.
“Josh Jenkins and I were walking around after class to get our haircut, but then things changed,” Eger said. “We agreed to grow our hair out and the first person who got their haircut had to buy the other dinner.
“Josh lost, and he bought me dinner. But then, I just kept growing it out. I loved it. After a while, I thought what better way to cap off my community service and everything I've done here in Morgantown then to give back. With this, I'm able to give it to someone who needs it.”
The 6-6, 302-pounder donated 10 inches of his strawberry blonde hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The charity campaign permits individuals to donate hair for women and children who have lost theirs due to cancer treatment. In order to donate, you must have a minimum of eight inches of hair.
“The organization donates 100 percent of their wigs to children and women with cancer and in need,” Eger said. “I thought Pantene was a good fit for me because it was more straight charity. I just like giving back.”
Eger made quite the name for himself on the football field, particularly this season, with his long, wavy hair hanging from the back of his helmet and covering his shoulders.
“It was just something that I wanted to do, so I grew it out,” Eger explained. “People knew me by the kid with the long, blonde hair.”
Local hairstylist Seth Gartin had the pleasure of clipping and styling Eger’s hair, after Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble clipped the 10-inch ponytail to be donated.
“We try to encourage people to donate,” Gartin explained. “A lot of people have that attachment to their hair when it gets this long. I think it just shows the big heart and big soul that Pat has to actually be able to do something like this.”
As for the new look Eger sports, it was one carefully planned prior to the cutting.
“We were going back and forth with what haircut to go with. I sent him a picture of something I like. I trust him. He's been cutting my hair forever,” Eger said. “I feel good. It's a change. I'm done with football at WVU, and am moving on to the next phase of my life."
Since football season came to an end, Eger has been working toward his goal of playing professional football. But even if that doesn’t work out, don’t expect the Jefferson Hills, Pa., native to stop lending a helping hand.
“I've been giving back my entire life and I don't plan to stop,” Eger said. “Even if I don't play professional football, I'll still do it.”