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Coal mine trip meaningful to West Virginia football

West Virginia coach Neal Brown speaks during Big 12 Media Days. (AP Photo)
West Virginia coach Neal Brown speaks during Big 12 Media Days. (AP Photo)


Neal Brown has punched all the right PR buttons in his eight months as the West Virginia football coach. Even to the point of taking the Mountaineers to a coal mine.

Earlier this month, Brown and his staff took the entire WVU squad to Arch Coal’s Leer Mining Complex in Grafton, West Virginia. Coal is to West Virginia what oil is to Oklahoma, except the coal industry is much more beleaguered.

“I want them to understand who they represent,” Brown said of his players. “I think coal mining is part of the fabric of West Virginia. The numbers of miners probably is not as high as it once was, but it still is part of who we are as West Virginians. I wanted our players to understand that.”

When the Mountaineers take the field at Milan Puskar Stadium, they touch a large chunk of coal. Brown calls it a “man trip,” and he wants his players to understand what kind of men spend their days under the Earth, helping fuel a state.

“It was a great experience,” said Brown, who grew up in neighboring Kentucky. “Very humbling to see how much pride that those men have in West Virginia football. I already knew this, but it made me realize, one reason we took this job, it’s important here. It’s extremely important, and that trip reinforced what it means to the people of our state.”

Related Photos
FILE - This Tuesday July 16, 2019, file photo shows West Virginia head coach Neal Brown speaking during Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media day at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David Kent)

FILE - This Tuesday July 16, 2019, file photo shows West Virginia head coach Neal Brown speaking during Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media day at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David Kent)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c4706324d25820c005831d696e147577.jpg" alt="Photo - FILE - This Tuesday July 16, 2019, file photo shows West Virginia head coach Neal Brown speaking during Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media day at AT&amp;T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David Kent)" title="FILE - This Tuesday July 16, 2019, file photo shows West Virginia head coach Neal Brown speaking during Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media day at AT&amp;T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David Kent)"><figcaption>FILE - This Tuesday July 16, 2019, file photo shows West Virginia head coach Neal Brown speaking during Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media day at AT&amp;T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David Kent)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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