The Black Diamond Trophy is the name of the yearly football contest between the Virginia Tech (VT) Hokies and the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountaineers. The history of this cross conference rivalry between the Virginia Tech football program in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the West Virginia football program that is in the Big East Conference goes all the way back to 1912 when these two teams first squared off against one another.
The first contest between these two highly respected institutions of higher learning took place on November 16, 1912. The result of that inaugural match up resulted in the Virginia Tech squad walking away victoriously after thrashing their West Virginia opponents to the tune of a final score of 41-0. Even though the history of these two rivals from the same geographical area dates back to the early twentieth century the official Black Diamond Trophy was not introduced until 1997 when the schools began playing each other regularly.
West Virginia University is located in Morgantown, West Virginia and Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The two college campuses are located about 250 miles from one another. Students traveling from the Virginia Tech campus to away football games held at the West Virginia campus take Interstate 79 north for much of the approximately four hour car ride from Blacksburg to Morgantown. The site of the Black Diamond Trophy football game alternates annually between the Lane Stadium (capacity 66,233) in Blacksburg and Mountaineer Field in Morgantown which holds 60,180 people.
The name Black Diamond Trophy is a symbolic reference to the coal industry that has dominated the Appalachian region where these two schools reside for decades. This particular part of the country where the Virginias are located is steeped in rich coal history. The term black diamond being used as slang for coal is similar to calling oil black gold.
Before the Black Diamond Trophy was introduced in 1997 West Virginia held a commanding lead in the 41 contests that predated the symbolic trophy. Through 1996 the WVU program was ahead by a series count of 25-15-1. Since the incorporation of the Black Diamond Trophy in 1997 Virginia Tech has the series upper hand with a lead of 6 wins for the Hokies to only 3 wins for the Mountaineers.
Regrettably the future of the Black Diamond Trophy is very much in doubt. In 2004 Virginia Tech switched from the Big East Conference (which West Virginia is a member of) to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). As a result of conference scheduling conflicts the two colleges have not played each other since 2005. While the Black Diamond Trophy is currently on hiatus fans in the area are optimistic that it will be brought out of retirement soon.