The Story Behind Jersey No. 100
Today, as we celebrate West Virginia's 150th birthday, a side story to help you better understand our state's proud heritage.
The year was 1963 - West Virginia’s 100th birthday - and West Virginia University was asked to take part in helping promote the state’s Centennial Celebration Committee’s activities for that year [Watch President John F. Kennedy's brief speech outside the White House on June 20, 1963, celebrating West Virginia's 100th birthday
The Mountaineers in '63 had what was considered to be the strongest home football schedule in school history, nationally ranked Navy, Pitt and Oregon all coming to old Mountaineer Field in Morgantown to face WVU that year.
In addition to giving the stadium a new paint job, the school also anteed up $150,00 to build a new press box - quite a sum of money to be spending on facilities in those days. But more importantly, Athletic Director Red Brown needed something to tie WVU athletics into the on-going state centennial celebration. Well, as fate would have it, the school's indelible link to our state’s 100th birthday would turn out to be a kicker from St. Alban’s, W.Va., named Chuck Kinder.
Someone at West Virginia University came up with the great idea of petitioning the NCAA to allow a Mountaineer player to wear the uniform No. 100 in honor of the state’s 100th birthday, and the guy picked to wear it was Kinder.
“For whatever reason, they chose me,” Kinder, now retired, recalled from his home in Charleston earlier today. “I was the kicker - I did extra points, field goals, kickoffs and punts. That’s all I did. I did not play a position other than kicker.”
The why was quite clear - and why Kinder was chosen was most likely because WVU stood a better chance of having the NCAA approve a kicker wearing the jersey No. 100 than a quarterback, running back or wide receiver. Yet the person who actually came up with the idea is probably lost forever to history [although the strong suspicion here is that late Sports Information Director Eddie Barrett somehow had a hand in it].
“I don’t know why they picked me,” said Kinder, while conceding that he did lobby the coaching staff to let him wear a special uniform number that season. Kinder wanted a number that was not position-specific at that time, meaning any number that fell outside of 10 through 89.
“I asked for 0, 1, 3 or 7 because each one of those numbers were significant to me in my Christian faith,” he said.
Kinder’s unusual request was granted, but he was asked to wear No. 100 instead.
"A bull's-eye," he laughed.
Kinder says there is another side story to tell after he was handed his special jersey at the beginning of the season.
“When they gave me the jersey they challenged me to score 100 points (for his career),” Kinder said. “Back then, that was a ton of points.”
Indeed, it was. Field goals were not valued by teams the way they are today and even extra points were often 50-50 propositions. Plus, having a guy on the team who only kicked field goals was almost like having a man from the moon on your team roster.
“The field goal was kind of a give-up point back then,” said Kinder. “People thought of it as a short punt rather than a scoring event.”
Fittingly, Kinder exceeded 100 career points – 103 to be exact – during the final game of his college career in what was the state’s 103rd year of existence in 1966. Kinder can still remember the circumstances surrounding a non-descript game that carries great personal meaning to him. The opponent was George Washington and the site was old D.C. Stadium in Washington, D.C.
“There wasn’t but a handful of people at the game. George Washington was dropping its football program so the only people that were there were moms and dads and aunts and uncles. The place looked like a barn with nobody there, but I got my last three points,” he said proudly.
That he did.
Kinder continued to wear the jersey No. 100 until the beginning of his senior season in 1966 when new coach Jim Carlen asked him to change uniform numbers.
“I was getting too much publicity for wearing No. 100 because it was such a unique thing,” Kinder explained. “Writers needed stories and they saw me running out with the No. 100 and they thought, what in the world is this? In the opinion of the new coaching staff, they asked me not to wear the No. 100, and, of course, a senior kicker does what new management says. So I wore No. 10.”
At any rate, Kinder is immensely proud of the role he played in helping recognize his home state’s heritage and its long, wild and wonderful history.
“I am deeply honored that I was chosen to wear the No. 100. I will always be thankful for that. When they gave me the shirt I didn’t know the meaning of it. I didn’t make the connections to the why of 100,” he said.
Fifty years later, he certainly understands the great meaning of what he was asked to do.
“At this moment, I am wearing a No. 100 shirt that the SportMart made for me,” he said. “I’ve been up to the birthday celebration at the Capital and I think this is the first time I’ve ever worn it to a public event. I decided this would be the perfect day to wear my No. 100 shirt.”
And now you know the rest of the story!
By the way, happy birthday West Virginia!Check out Antonik's book The Backyard Brawl: Stories from One of the Weirdest, Wildest, Longest Running, and Most Intense Rivalries in College Football History available in bookstores and online at your favorite retailers. A portion of the sales benefit the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Also, be sure to "Like" the new Backyard Brawl Facebook page and tell us your personal WVU-Pitt story.