Organizers of the Carrier Classic college basketball game scheduled for the deck of the Newport News-built USS Carl Vinson want the local shipyard to design and build the event's championship trophy.
The Morale Entertainment Foundation is negotiating with the Huntington Ingalls-owned yard to produce the trophy, foundation head Michael Whalen told me Thursday afternoon.
The Carrier Classic between North Carolina and Michigan State is set for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, aboard the Vinson off the waters near San Diego. The ship was built in Newport News, commissioned here in 1982 and overhauled here from 2005-09.
Whalen, 59 and a former Marine, said his foundation specializes in taking renowned Americans to visit troops abroad. Among those to travel with Morale are former astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, former Indy car drivers Mario Andretti and Al Unser, and college football coaches Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), Chip Kelly (Oregon), Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech) and Rich Ellerson (Army).
Whalen credited Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis and CBS Sports producer Steve Scheer with the concept of staging a game on an aircraft carrier.
Kudos to them for the idea, and to Whalen for involving the Newport News shipyard.
For more details on the game, check out this column.