In honor of the (very likely) last football game that Marshall plays against WVU on Saturday, I want to share my favorite Friends of Coal Bowl Memory.
The year was 2009 and I got a call from my good buddy Javey that he had the ultimate Coal Bowl hookup for us. 2 tickets to the Coal Bowl in Morgantown with all access sideline passes, and to top it off we could get our grub on in the media buffet pre-game. Pretty much the Harpo Hookup for a big college football fan.
So we head up to Morgantown, risking our life by sporting our Marshall green, ready to cheer on the Herd from our VIP sidelines. We get to the stadium, work through the tail-gaiters (getting slightly harassed), make our way up to the media buffet and we get our grub on. By the time we finish eating we have to make our way through the student section in order to walk on the football field. What a well behaved group of sober students…ahem.
So we take our place on the sidelines, convinced that our all access sideline passes really do grant us all access. Instead of hanging out near the end zones with the peeps who don’t have “all access”, we make our way right to the middle of the players box. I really do mean right in the middle, because right there in the middle of the players and coaches stood the two of us. We were high fiving players, slinging atta-boy butt slaps, throwing out helmet pounds, the works. We even grabbed Gatorade from the waterboy. During one running play we actually had to dodge players from running into us on the sidelines. We were living the ultimate fans dream.
WVU’s starting QB was knocked out of the game early and Marshall goes into half time with a 7-3 lead. We are going nuts. The 2nd half starts and our joy was short lived because it doesn’t go well for Marshall at all. WVU begins to take the game over (with current QB, then Freshman Gino Smith). They take a 2 touchdown lead and we start to notice (previous) Coach Mark Snyder getting visibly upset. He’s pacing back and forth, yelling on his head phones. He’s pointing at players, yelling at refs, arguing with coaches and we could tell he knew this game was slipping away. During all of his pacing suddenly Javey and I find ourselves standing directly behind him, just him and us. He stops, turns completely around and stairs right at us, freezing us in our place. This is how it played out.
Coach Snyder: (Pointing at us) “Who are you two?”
Me and Javey: (We look at each other dumbfounded) “Who us?”
Coach Snyder: “Yeah, you two.” (Getting visibly more agitated).
Coach Snyder: “What are you two doing here?”
Me and Javey: (Way too cheery for the moment) “Nothing coach, just cheering on the Herd!”
Coach Snyder: “Well get the “H” out of my players box!” (Pointing towards the end zone and he doesn’t say “h”).
Me and Javey: “You got it coach!”
We point our eyes down avoiding eye contact and quickly bee-line our way towards the now obvious designated area for ALL non-team people to observe the game, trying not to giggle from shear joy. After a few high fives to each other, I immediately call my dad and tell him his football dreams for me finally came true, sort of. I was actually yelled at on a college football field, during an actual game by an actual college coach. He should be proud, kind of. I have to admit, I was pretty proud.
WVU goes on to win 24-7 and we enjoy the rest of the game from our marked designated sidelines along with the rest of the media pass holders and VIP’s. We catch some of the post game interviews and head home to Herd country, but not before grabbing free Chik-fil-a sandwiches on the way out.
Knowing that Coach Snyder directed his built up anger (from his team blowing a lead) right at us felt pretty good. He was still a jerk, but it definitely left us with a great memory that we’ll never forget.
My prediction for the game: WVU 45 – MU 17