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Coal Bowl trophy an all-state effort

August 23, 2006

 

by JACK BOGACZYK

Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston, WV

The Friends of Coal wanted "unique" to be the best way to describe the momentous memento being created for the resumption of the West Virginia-Marshall football series.

Well, the trophy designed and painstakingly manufactured for the Mountain State rivalry fits Webster's definition -- single, having no like or equal.

There's only one of them . . . so no one had better drop it.

It's called the Governor's Trophy, etched with the seal of the state's top executive, and it goes to the winner of the Sept. 2 game at Mountaineer Field. It speaks of the game's sponsor and the state's natural resources, craftsmen and artisans.

It stands nearly 2 feet, weighs about 60 pounds, and is made of crystal glass and coal, sitting on a carbon base. A hand-blown crystal football (nearly regulation size), intricately etched with laces and stripes, holds 5 gallons of pulverized coal.

"The trophy is made of probably 98 percent West Virginia materials," said Rick Mogielski, the trophy's designer. "From the start, we wanted to use materials from the state and West Virginia artisans as much as possible. The work was 100 percent done by West Virginians.


"After our first meeting, we felt like the game and industry deserved something unique, something somewhat elegant. It's a big game; glass makes the trophy more elegant.

"We kept coming back to coal-filled glass. We really didn't know if it would work."

The Governor's Trophy was to be reviewed by Gov. Joe Manchin this morning at the State Capitol, then taken to Huntington and an 11:30 a.m. unveiling in the Big Green Room at Edwards Stadium on the Marshall campus.

The trophy is scheduled for a stop at tonight's "House Divided" public reception for fans of both schools at the Charleston Civic Center, then heads to Morgantown on Thursday for a 6 p.m. media viewing in the Puskar Center after a Mountaineer practice.


Mogielski, a 46-year-old Wheeling native, is senior vice president and creative director for Charles Ryan Associates, the public relations firm for Friends of Coal. He credited about 15 state craftsmen and artisans in the process, which began with his design shortly after Friends of Coal decided it would approach the two schools about the sponsorship of the game.

Friends of Coal is paying $1 million for sponsorship of the seven-year series between the state's only Division I-A football programs. The schools have played only five times and only once since 1923. That was in 1997.

"We've been kind of hooked at the hip since the process began, and Rick has done a fabulous job," said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney, who was to be at Marshall for today's unveiling with Herd Athletic Director Bob Marcum and Coach Mark Snyder.

"What we wanted was a West Virginia trophy, one that was as much native product and people as it could be.

"That's what Rick has given us. That was enormously important, and we obviously wanted to incorporate coal in the design. It has been a big part of our state's heritage, and it will be a big part of our future.

"Having something unique was important to us, too. We wanted people to walk into the (Puskar Center) facilities building at WVU or the Henderson Center, wherever trophies are displayed, and have people attracted to the trophy, to make it stand out, as an important trophy for an important game."

Mogielski, a graduate of West Liberty State and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is the creative force behind the Friends of Coal television commercials that feature former coaches Don Nehlen and Bob Pruett, and BASS tour pro Jeremy Starks of Charleston.

Designing a trophy was different.

"I thought of the Sears Trophy (now Waterford Crystal ADT National Championship Trophy)," Mogielski said, "and I sort of went from there. It has that crystal football, and that makes its special.

"The message in the trophy is the importance of the game in this state. In a TV commercial, you try to communicate a message. This trophy conveys a message."

On Tuesday, the Coal Bowl trophy cleared a potentially dicey hurdle. In Ansted, Bob Dickenson of Mountaineer Coal Creations inserted the 5 gallons of coal -- "ground to the consistency of flour," Mogielski said -- into the football through a drilled hole.

Before Dickenson went to work, the coal was pulverized at SGF Minerals in Kanawha City.

"It's not like pouring bits of coal through a hole," Mogielski said. "The temperature, the barometric pressure, they have to be just right to pour the liquid coal (heated to 180 degrees).

"If you have too much moisture, the coal solidifies and you can't pour it. You let the moisture come out of the glass football as it's cooling. If it's not the right temperature, moisture forms around the inside of the glass, like you see on a window."

The coal came from Riverton Coal's Kingston mine in Fayette County. The hand-blown football and 10-inch pedestal were crafted at Fenton Art Glass in Williamstown.

The coal-filled glass football traveled from Ansted to there Tuesday for assembly.

The pedestal features a sand-etched and painted Friends of Coal logo, the latter painted by Stacy Williams of Fenton. The pedestal sits atop a carbon base, weighing 40 pounds. The base was produced by GrafTech in Clarksburg.

The exception to the West Virginia products on the trophy is a small piece of out-of-state granite on the base that is etched with the Governor's Seal and words "Governor's Trophy," work done by Curry Brothers Monuments of Alum Creek.

The carbon could not be etched. Casto Tile of Charleston cut the piece of granite.

Mogielski consulted with glass blowers Boyd Miller of Beckley (Tamarack studio) and John DesMeules of Eleanor. At Fenton, the designer had input from Ken Moore and Denny Lumbatis, before Dave Fetty, a retired glass blower, was brought in to do the unique task of making a football that could hold coal.

"It's been a team effort," Mogielski said. "The people at Fenton hand-blew several samples, just to see what could be done. It's something you have to work through, heat the glass to form the glass football, and the combination of the two have to react just right or it won't work.

"Working with the glass and coal together was the big challenge."

Contact Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at jackb@dailymail.com or 348-7949.

[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]

Glass blower Dave Fetty positions the glass football that he made on top of the glass pedestal at Fenton Art Glass in Williamstown. Rick Mogielski, standing, designed the trophy. Stacy Williams of Fenton Art Glass painted the logo on the vase.

 

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