College Football Opening Coin Toss

Published November 22, 2023 | 1 min read

By Darcie Graybill

Football games traditionally start with a coin toss, which determines who gets the ball first and which goal the teams will defend. At the beginning of the Lamar University football game against McNeese State University in Beaumont, Texas, on November 18, a rare collectible was flipped into the air. A century-old Saint-Gaudens double eagle (gold $20) was used in honor of the university’s centennial year. 

Benefactor Michael Fuljenz, president of Universal Coin & Bullion in Beaumont, donated the 1923-dated piece for the game between the Cardinals and the Cowboys. 

“The coin was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and like Lamar University, it is 100 years old this year,” Fuljenz says. “I was honored to be asked to do the coin flip for the teams and decided to use the 1923 gold coin, then donate it to Lamar as a symbolic representation of the school’s centennial.” 

Fuljenz (Photo: Bee Photography)

Fuljenz is a longtime supporter of the academic and athletic programs at both Lamar and McNeese universities. He is also a dedicated numismatist who was named the ANA’s Dealer of the Year in 2021 and received the organization’s highest honor, the Chester L. Krause Memorial Distinguished Service Award, earlier this year. To read an in-depth profile of Fuljenz, see “Setting the Gold Standard” in the August 2023 issue of The Numismatist. To learn more about the unexpected outcome of flipping a coin, visit the Reading Room article “Heads or Tails.”