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Fenton Makes a Championship Trophy

Some hefty stakes - Friends of Coal Bowl championship trophy unveiled in Huntington

August 24, 2006



Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV

HUNTINGTON — When Bob Marcum and Mark Snyder jokingly made a getaway with the new trophy for the Marshall-West Virginia football series, they didn’t drop it.

Which is a good thing, and not just because it’s part glass.

The Governor’s Trophy, unveiled Wednesday at Marshall, doesn’t look imposing from a distance. But the glass-encased coal football anchored to a carbon platform weighs 60 pounds and could do some damage if dropped on your feet.

hat’s something for Gov. Joe Manchin to keep in mind as he presents the trophy to the winner on Sept. 2 at Mountaineer Field.

“It’s pretty heavy,” Snyder quipped after the Marshall coach and his boss, athletic director Marcum, put the trophy back.

Heavy also describes the imagination and labor poured into the project from several points across the state.

The trophy was designed by Rick Mogielski, senior vice president and creative director at Charles Ryan Associates. He was inspired by the Sears Trophy, the Waterford crystal glass football awarded to the winner of the Bowl Championship Series national title game.

The presence of coal was mandatory, considering the title sponsor is Friends of Coal. But getting that coal inside the glass was tricky.

“I talked to several companies that said it couldn’t be done, because mixing coal with glass: Both of them are heat sources and you could run into problems,” Mogielski said. “So we were talking about cutting the glass football in half, setting [the coal] in there and then adhering it together. Finally, we decided this was the best way to go.”

The football’s glass casing and pedestal were done by Fenton Art Glass of Williamstown. The coal was supplied by Kingstown Mining Inc. near Scarbro, but wasn’t ready to work with.

“I gave it to Rick and it turned out it had too much moisture in it, as it was naturally delivered to us,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “We had to take it, pulverize it at SGS Minerals in Charleston. They pulverized it, put it in the oven and dried it out and got it to the consistency the fellow in Ansted could work with.”

That fellow was Robert Dickenson of Mountaineer Coal Creations. He liquefied the coal and inserted it through a tiny air hole in the glass, filling out the football.

GrafTech in Clarksburg provided the carbon base. Casto Tile and Marble of Charleston did the face plate and mounting, and Curry Bros. Monuments of Alum Creek did the laser engraving, etching the governor’s seal in the base and the “laces” in the football.

Snyder, who acknowledges “the blood pressure is going up” in the Marshall camp, offered his stamp of approval.

“What we started out with, what we wanted was a very unique trophy,” Snyder said. “We wanted something that would catch peoples’ eye when it was in the trophy case, either in Huntington or in Morgantown, as it travels with the winning team over the seven-year series.

“Being involved in some of these games [as an assistant at Ohio State] that involve a trophy, the Axe [Paul Bunyan’s Axe, Minnesota-Wisconsin], the Floyd of Rosedale [Iowa-Minnesota], Old Oaken Bucket [Indiana-Purdue], all the old rivalries, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. There’s nothing more exhilarating than picking up the trophy after the game for the winning team. I know our team’s excited, we’re going to Morgantown and give them our best shot and I know our kids are ready to roll.”

To contact staff writer Doug Smock, use e-mail or call 348-5130.


The Friends of Coal Bowl championship trophy goes to the winner of what will soon become the annual West Virginia-Marshall showdown.

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