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Events to Mark 30th Anniversary of Marshall University Football 1970 Disaster

Events to Mark 30th Anniversary of Marshall University Football 1970 Disaster


Marshall University and the Tri-State community will come together Tuesday, November 14, 2000, to remember the 75 lives lost in the 1970 crash of the football team, coaches, staff and boosters as they returned from a game at East Carolina University. As always, the ceremony at the Memorial Fountain, dedicated behind the Marshall Memorial Student Union back in 1972, is always shut down for the winter on the date of what remains the worst disaster in American sport.

Network shows, replays of previously shown features, newspaper and web sites will all have special articles on the crash and the items that have been unveiled for this 30th Anniversary, including a bronze memorial at the stadium, 75 flags flying from the stadium to Spring Hill Cemetery (where a monument marks the graves of six players who could not be identified) and the designation of the streets with those flag (Norway Avenue and Twentieth Street, from the cemetery to the stadium at Third Avenue) as "Marshall Memorial Boulevard."

Events include:

Tuesday, November 14, will see the 28th annual service at the Memorial Fountain, located on the campus-side of the Marshall University Memorial Student Center (Third Avenue and John Marshall Way), between the new Drinko Library and the Campus Christian Center. The service, sponsored by the Marshall Student Government, will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the plaza surrounding the fountain. Remarks are scheduled to be made by Marshall President Dr. Dan Angel, Director of Athletics at Marshall Lance West, Head Football Coach for the Thundering Herd Bob Pruett, former Herd (1971-74) Head Football Coach Jack Lengyel (currently the director of Athletics at the US Naval Academy) and Nate Ruffin, a player who missed the plane due to an injury. The current president of the student government, Bill Walker, and members of the 2000 Marshall football team will present a memorial wreath at the fountain. The fountain will be shutoff for the winter at 7:47 p.m., exactly 30 years to the moment of the tragedy in 1970, as "Taps" are played. There will be a reception in the Memorial Student Center after the ceremony.

"Ashes to Glory" will re-run this evening on WPBY-TV 33, as well on WVPTV, beginning at 10:00 p.m. Tapes of the documentary will be available for $30.00 from WVPTV and the Marshall Big Green, with the money going to help defray the enormous expense of the project, by calling the Big Green Scholarship Foundation at 304-696-4661.

Today is also be the airing date for a feature by HBO Sports. Their program, "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble", is an anthology series that looks at three or four stories in a 60-minute program. Jim Lampley will anchor the segment on Marshall, which is scheduled to include footage of the Marshall-Miami football game, won by the Herd 51-31 to clinch a fourth-consecutive Mid-American Conference East Division Title, and the unveiling of the Bronze Memorial, done Saturday before the game. The series usually reruns two or three additional times during a month, check your local television listings.

Also scheduled for or around November 14th, Wayne Drehs of is scheduled to write stories on the crash, the "Young" Thundering Herd of 1971 and their coach, Jack Lengyel, and the return of Marshall football on the website of the leader in sports, ESPN. He will be at the bronze unveiling, talk with many Marshall supporters and former players and try to catch the spirit of Marshall that exists in Huntington and the surrounding communities.

ABC News was scheduled to run a story on the "ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings" but they were unable to come to Huntington and shoot, as the Atlanta-based crew was sent to Florida to cover the Presidential Election re-count. It is unknown at this time if ABC will have any story, but locally, ABC affiliate WCHS is going to try to have a tribute at 7:47 p.m., the exact time of the crash. WSAZ and WOWK in Huntington have also done stories and all will cover the fountain ceremony as will most of the local media. WRVC 930 AM in Huntington will do a live feed of the ceremony tonight following "Sideline Sports" from 5-7 p.m.