Rand U. rooting for Moss
RAND, W.Va. -- Randy Moss' hometown is capitalizing on the San Francisco 49ers wide receivers' longtime reference to fictitious alma mater "Rand University."
Moss, who will play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens, grew up in a single-parent home with three siblings in Rand, located 6 miles from the state Capitol. The unincorporated town has about 1,600 residents.
Moss played college ball at Marshall University, but has jokingly referred to "Rand University" as his alma mater. While the university doesn't exist, residents say the university actually is the Rand 7-Eleven, the town's center of activity.
"A lot of people thought it was an actual college," said Moss friend Tremale Straughter. "I had to set them straight.
"It just means Rand. The hangout spot is the 7-Eleven."
Cierra Jones, the daughter of Moss' personal assistant, is using that reference to promote the town and Moss. She has sold more than 250 T-shirts with the "Rand University" emblem.
"Once he said it, people started going crazy, and I thought why not capitalize on it?" Jones said. "I took it to an artist and he was able to make it look like something from a real university.
"For him to pay homage to Rand, he could have easily said Randy Moss from Charleston, but he always says Rand. That's awesome."
Jones told the Charleston Daily Mail (http://bit.ly/W6YJo7) she gave Moss two of the shirts. Moss took photos of them in front of the 7-Eleven and posted them on his Twitter account.
A South Charleston company, East Coast Tees, has the T-shirts available for sale at http://www.randuniversity.com.
Kim Canterbury attended school with Moss and graduated from then-DuPont High in 1994. She was among a group of 30 people who wore Rand University shirts at the 7-Eleven on Thursday to show their support for Moss, a rare success story from a poor community.
"This shirt represents him," Canterbury said. "This is where he grew up, and really this is where we all came from.
"He sets the bar high. But he shows that if he can overcome, then anyone can."
Moss, who earlier this week declared himself "the greatest receiver ever to play this game," also played in the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2008 when they lost to the New York Giants
Moss is among four former Marshall players in the Super Bowl. Safety C.J. Spillman is a 49ers teammate. Albert McClellan is a backup linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and Omar Brown is a reserve defensive back for the Ravens.