For the eighth year, BYU baseball players will be carrying a team coin with them at all times. The coins were given at the annual Christmas party in December.

Players earned the coin through various requirements, such as completing the annual run up to the block Y on nearby Y Mountain last October.

“We are trying to continue the tradition of representing BYU in the right way,” said BYU coach Vance Law. “The coin is a reminder of the plus-one motto implying what Vice President (Kevin) Worthen challenged our department to be everything you can be.”

One side of the coin reads “Effort, Character, Execution.” The flipside of the coin reads “competitive greatness” with three "+1" symbols.

“Plus one means going beyond the expected,” Law said. “Competitive greatness is one of the elements from coach John Wooden’s UCLA Pyramid of Success.”

Cougar players also have a challenge opportunity among themselves to develop team unity.

Various U.S. military institutions have similar programs. In the military, each soldier has the opportunity to earn a specially minted coin. The coins are issued by a company's commanding officer and are a very big honor. Each coin is minted specifically for a given unit. Also, each military operation —such as Operation Iraqi Freedom, for example — has its own coin created for the soldiers that participated.

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The soldiers are required to always keep their coin with them, and the military has developed an incentive. At any time one soldier can pull his coin on a fellow soldier. If his counterpart does not have his coin at the time the other pulls it, the counterpart has to buy a drink that night. However, if the counterpart can show the coin, he gets the free drink.

BYU has developed a similar system. If a player or coach pulls the coin on his teammate (or coach) and the teammate doesn't have the coin, the teammate must buy a soft drink for all of his teammates that have theirs.

The coin is just smaller than the size of the handle end of a baseball bat.

It's a BYU twist on a military tradition. It is a fun way to promote team unity.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU athletic media relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at Email: