Marshall Director of Athletics Bob Marcum and MU head football coach Mark Snyder joined Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association and the creators of the "Friends of Coal" to promote the over 500,000 West Virginian's involved in the industry, in the first look at the traveling trophy which will be presented every year to the winner of the MU-WVU football game.
The Friends of Coal Bowl trophy, on the turf at Edwards Stadium on Wednesday.
Governor Joe Manchin, who brought the two schools together in a seven-game series last year, will be on hand to present the trophy to the winning team in their locker room each year. The trophy will then be housed at the school that won until just before the game the next season, in a series which, for now, is signed through 2012, although the Governor hopes to extend it indefinitely. "Seven years signed, looking for ten more," said Governor Manchin last week at the Marshall rally, "Paint the Capital City Green."
The Friends of Coal unveiled the Governor's Trophy on Wednesday at the Big Green Room of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington. It will also be on display tonight in Charleston and Thursday in Morgantown and Raney said the WV Coal Association could not be more pleased to be involved in the game and the trophy. "We are delighted to offer a beautiful, classic trophy that highlights some of West Virginia's best materials and most talented artisans," said Raney. "A lot of people had a hand in making this outstanding trophy possible. This game deserves something special, and we've provided it.
"This is a West Virginia event, through West Virginia teams," said Raney. "We're so proud to sponsor this series and we've had a lot of fun with it." Raney said coming into sponsoring the series, however, he and the Coal Association had no idea of what went into putting on a college football game. "There are some many parts. I myself did not understand the minutia that goes on with the development , the performance and the bringing on of a game. This one brings on a little more drama than all the others because it's all West Virginians."
Mark Snyder has been involved with many classic rivalries and trophies while working in the Big Ten Conference, like Paul Bunyan's Axe in the Minnesota-Wisconsin game or Floyd of Rosedale, a golden pig on a stand to the winner of Iowa-Minnesota game from his year's with the Golden Gophers. "This is first chance I've had to see the trophy," said Snyder. "Being in these types of games where trophies are involved...all the old rivalries, there's nothing more exhilarating than picking up the trophy for the winning team."
Snyder and Marcum actually picked the 60-plus pound trophy up and headed for the door at one point in the presentation, but all kidding aside, Marcum understands what the game and the coal industry mean to the state. "We really appreciate the Coal Associations involvement in this, it's a huge natural resource in our state and I don't know of a better sponsor than the Friends of Coal and the Coal Association."
The Governor's Trophy was designed by Rick Mogielski, senior vice president and creative director at Charles Ryan Associates, an integrated marketing firm in Charleston. "A lot of people wanted to be involved in this (around the state)," said Mogielski. "When the Friends of Coal first mentioned this, I started working on some sketches to incorporate coal into the trophy. It was about nine months from the beginning until now." The trophy has a carbon base, with glass rising up to form the middle part and ending with a coal-shaped football encased in glass on top of the trophy. "The biggest obstacle was the coal and the glass. They make a good mix."
The football was made of coal mined out of two seams, the Glen Alum seam (the largest in the state, according to Raney) and the Douglas seam, by Kingston Mining and Riverton Coal Production at their mines near Scarbro, W.Va. The coal was actually too wet to use in its natural form, according to Rick Coleman of the Coal Association. "We had to take the coal to be liquified and blended together into the shape of a ball," said Coleman. There was also the problem of blending the coal into the glass ball, as both coal and glass conduct heat very well.
The companies involved in the project, outside of the Coal Association and Ryan Associates, included: Fenton Art Glass (Williamstown); GrafTech (Clarksburg); Curry Brother's Monuments (Alum Creek); Riverton Coal Production, Inc. and Kingston Mining (Scarbro), Inc.; SGS Minerals (Charleston); Mountaineer Coal Creations (Amstead); and Casto Tile and Marble (Charleston).