The Mountaineer Mantrip is the ceremonial start to all home football games in Morgantown. The players and coaches walk through a tunnel of Mountaineer fans and touch a piece of coal before officially entering Milan Puskar Stadium.
This game day tradition is a nod to the state’s coal industry and the hard-working, blue-collar people that start their work day with their own mantrip.
On Wednesday, the team took a break from on-field drills and traveled to a local coal mine in Grafton.
“It was interesting getting to know what those people go through every day, sacrificing their lives so they can provide for their families,” WVU redshirt freshman wide receiver Sam James said. “We also got to see how the coal is manufactured and how much they mine ever day, so that was pretty cool.”
Coach Brown said the trip to the Leer Mining Complex provided his team with a better understanding of the state.
“I think it’s really important for our guys, especially the players that aren’t from the state of West Virginia, to understand what the fabric of our state is about and one of the mainstays here is coal mining. People have pride in it. A lot of our fans either are coal miners, or have family members who are or who have been coal miners in the past.” Brown said in an interview that will air this week on a special presentation of Mountaineer GameDay.
Fairmont native and junior defensive lineman Darius Stills said he had previously visited one of the state’s coal mines, but it wasn’t the same experience that Wednesday’s trip provided.
“I’ve never gotten so much detail like we did yesterday,” Stills said on Thursday.
“I couldn’t imagine being underground working 10+ hours, and working with no air really. Mike Joseph (WVU’s strength and conditioning coach) emphasizes a lot on hard work and blue-collar mentality. When it gets hard, a man does what he has to do, not what he wants to do, you know? It was a very great experience for us as a team.”
“Our guys got a much better understanding of what the mantrip is about so when we go touch that coal for the JMU game, they are going to understand what that represents,” Brown added.
The Mountaineer Mantrip takes places two hours and 45 minutes before the start of every home game.