Virginia Tech's lunch pail has come to not only symbolize the Hokies' tireless, blue-collar approach to the game, but also inspire current players to uphold that tradition. It all began in 1995 when then-co-defensive coordinators Rod Sharpless and Bud Foster brought the pail back from New Jersey and decided to use it as a motivational tool for that season's defense. Sharpless' mother-in-law found the now-famous original lunch pail in Mercerville, N.J., where it had belonged to a coal miner.
Throughout the season, the pail holds the players' defensive goals, weekly goals, their keys to success for the week and a mission statement that was signed by each player before the season. And, of course, little bits of opponents' turf from road wins also become part of the tradition.