In the opening sequence for Spike TV's new hit original series Coal,
the miners of Cobalt Coal are labeled as being "sons, brothers and fathers." In other words, they are just like any of us, doing a job and providing the very best for their families. Set in West Virginia, Coal
also showcases small town America, but just because you come from a small coal mining town, doesn't mean you can't go on to bigger things. Here are just a few celebrities who started in coal mining families or as coal miners themselves.
Photo: George Long/WireImage/Getty ImagesJerry West -
West Virginian native, Jerry West also grew up in a coal mining family with his father working as a coal mine electrician in the then impoverished town of Chelyan. At first, Jerry was labeled small and frail. It was only when he got to high school that he finally was able to show everyone what he had been training his whole life for -- basketball. West quickly rose in the ranks, first as West Virginia’s Player of the Year in 1956, then as a star at West Virginia University and finally as an all-star with the Minneapolis Lakers (later the Los Angeles Lakers). West later transitioned into leadership as a coach and general manager before retiring from the sport, but his fondness for his home state still shines through as West continues to spend three months out of the year in West Virginia.
There are many more stories like these, which prove that as a coal miner or the child of one, the opportunities you get in life are only the ones you seek out for yourself. All new episodes of Coal
air every Wednesday at 10PM/9C
on Spike. Be certain to follow the show on Facebook
for more great coal miner stories and the latest in exclusive content.