Great article here (free subscription required). The piece starts on Shuler the football legend getting Republican voters to switch to him.
Because Shuler is a Democrat who played football at the University of Tennessee, and because this part of western North Carolina generally votes Republican and roots for Tennessee, the endorsement usually goes this way: "You're on the wrong side of the ticket, but you know what? I'm going to vote for you anyway."
College football loyalties can run deeper than party lines. The candidate nods and smiles. The voter tips his Tennessee cap. Just like that, the voter is once again a fan and the candidate once again a legend.
Being a Florida fan, it has been the opposite for me. I put politics above the fact that he played at Tennessee. The rest of the article is a good biography of the Democrats most famous Congressional candidate.