By Bill Raney
President, West Virginia Coal Association

As we close the books on another truly great game, the Friends of Coal would like to thank the people of Huntington for playing host to thousands of our state's best - our hard-working coal miners and their families.

Over the past five seasons, this game has been the highlight of our annual calendar, whether it was held in Huntington or Morgantown. It is our honor to serve as the sponsors of the game.

While we all love football, our Mountaineers and our Thundering Herd, the Friends of Coal Bowl is about more than a game. Every fall, whether you wear the Blue and Gold or the Green and White, it lights up our expectations. It fills the pages of our newspapers and our television screens. It energizes us. It has become a symbol of our state, much as that little black rock for which it was named, has energized our nation for the past 100 years.

But it is more than football. It is about more than pride. It is about our future.


CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Coal Association would like to thank NIKE and West Virginia University for their tribute to West Virginia’s coal miners.  The decision to exchange the Blue and Gold of the Mountaineers for the “Black and Gold” is a touching tribute to the hard work and sacrifice of the 50,000 men and women who make their living in West Virginia’s coal industry.

The uniforms were the creation of NIKE as part of their introduction of the “Pro Combat” equipment line.  Coach Bill Stewart’s Mountaineers will wear the uniform for the November 26 “Backyard Brawl” at Pitt.

“The Mountaineers are truly West Virginia’s team and much like our coal miners, they are the heart and soul of our state,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association.  “We would like to thank the folks at NIKE and at West Virginia University for making this happen. This recognition means so much -- to our current coal miners and their families and to the generations of West Virginians who have worked and given so much of themselves to provide the resource that has made our nation great.

Representatives of the West Virginia Coal Association and the Friends of Coal will be busy through the next few months.  Continuing our outreach efforts around the state, the Friends of Coal has already scheduled the following events:
*  (September 11) The Friends of Coal will man an informational booth at the International Resource Partners annual community event in Gilbert.
*  (September 15) As noted, the Friends of Coal will join the Coalition for Mountaintop Mining for the group’s informational event in Washington, DC. The trip will focus on educating the nation’s 100 senators about the importance of coal to the nation and the role surface mining plays in the overall mining mix.
*  (September 17) The Friends of Coal and the Coalition for Mountaintop Mining will present a program on the importance of coal mining to the state’s economy, as well as an informational discussion about the practice of surface mining in Appalachia to the annual Energy and Industry Session of Leadership West Virginia. The Friends of Coal and the Coalition have been asked to speak to the group about the role of coal in West Virginia.
*  (October 2) The Friends of Coal will man an informational booth and display at the Coalwood Festival in McDowell County, home of the “Rocket Boys” and author Homer Hickam.  We hope to see everyone there.
If you would like to schedule a representative of the Friends of Coal or the West Virginia Coal Association for your event, please contact us at 304.342.4153. Our schedules are filling fast and we very much want to meet with your group to provide an accurate portrait of our state’s coal industry.

A group of Association members met Monday with 3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall and Congressional Candidate Spike Maynard at the Earl Ray Tomblin Conference Center at Chief Logan State Park for a discussion of coal issues. The candidates were allowed to state their positions on the issues related to the industry and answered questions from those in attendance.

President Bill Raney, ICG CEO Ben Hatfield and former WVCA Chairman Andrew Jordon made a presentation to a group of Washington & Lee University students Tuesday in Charleston.  W&L is located in Lexington, VA. The presentation was well-received and we believe they are going away with a better understanding of the industry, its role in our state and nation’s economy and our people.