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March 22, 2012Bryant Museum director Ken Gaddy slid a pair of soft, white gloves on his hands and reached down into a large, black, padded box on wheels and removed a gleaming crystal football.
He noticed a sticker near one of the football's ends, and as he peeled it away a television reporter jokingly asked "Does that say 'Made in China'?"
Gaddy kept his eyes on the sticker, proving difficult to remove with the gloves, before responding.
"I think it says made in Louisiana," he said with a slight smile.
Even in a building with more trophies than it knows what to do with, the 2011 Coaches' Trophy, won in a 21-0 trampling over LSU deep in the enemy territory of New Orleans, is a special addition.
Gaddy and museum curator Taylor Watson said the museum received the trophy, awarded each year to the BCS National Champion, Wednesday. At 9 a.m. Thursday, Watson removed the 2009 Coaches' Trophy and Gaddy put the 2011 trophy in its place.
"It's a fun job being able to handle the national championship trophy," Gaddy said. "This is the third Coaches' Trophy we've placed here since I've been here and it's been a lot of fun to put them out and let fans get up close and personal with them."
Gaddy said that fans lucky enough to be present at the museum when staff members are cleaning the exhibits actually get a chance to hold the crystal football.
The 2009 trophy was moved to a nearby exhibit dedicated to that national championship season, where it is accompanied by the Southeastern Conference championship trophy, a pair of Heisman Trophy winning running back Mark Ingram's iconic gloves with Bama's "A" insignia and head coach Nick Saban's still Gatorade stained shirt.
The 2011 trophy sits atop pedestal in front of a photograph of Saban hoisting it in the air after the Tide's win in January. On another pedestal nearby sits the MacArthur Bowl trophy, awarded each year by the National Football Foundation to the national champion.
Unlike the Coaches' trophies which are the museum's to keep, the MacArthur Trophy will be at the museum for 10 months before it is returned to the NFF to be awarded to the next national champion.
Watson and Gaddy said each national champion and its fanbase typically come into contact with three copies of the Coaches' Trophy each year.
2011 BCS Trophy - Images by TideSports Photo