Marshall football today has played a huge part in the community of Huntington and people all around the world that know about Marshall. Marshall's first season was in 1895, so it has been going on for a very long time. Years pass on and on and in 1970, 7;36 pm on November 14th Marshall university changed forever. On this day Marshall's football team were killed in a devastating plane crash. It crashed into a hillside short of the Tri-State airport killing 75 people which were everyone on that plane. There were thirty-seven Marshall football players that were boarded, along with the team's coach, its doctors, the university athletic director, and twenty-five team boosters. This devastating tragedy was one best tragedy stories in college history. This tragedy for the little town of Huntington made the community a much much stronger place as a whole. When everyone heard about the crash, shops and government offices closed, all businesses were closed, the university had a memorial service that was held at Joan C. Edwards stadium(Home of the Thundering Herd), and they also cancelled all classes Monday. The funerals for the 75 were spread out over several weeks. Then there were 6 players on the team that could not be identified but were all buried together at the Spring Hill Cemetery that was located not far from the campus.
Right after the plane crash the hopes for Marshall football had been getting slimmer and slimmer by time, and Marshall had to try to recruit right away because the program was lost. No one thought that Marshall football would ever be held again. In 1971, a year after the plane crash the herd opens up the season against Morehead State on September 18th, 1971 and was defeated in a 6-26 battle. This 1971 team had a 2-8 record under coach Jack Lengyel and team captain Nate Ruffin.
From that day of the crash till now, we remember the team of 70' that died. Before every football season that approaches Marshall football team take slight jog down to the Spring Hill Cemetery. The football team also remembers the 75 by wearing black jerseys, and they place a decal with 75 on the back of the helmet. Most of the time they do it to explain the importance of the Marshall plane crash and to discuss the people of the crash and where they are buried. Marshall University also remembers the 75 because they hold a memorial every year on November 14th in front of the heart of Marshall which is the statue of 75 pins in remembrance of 75 people that died on the plane.
"We Are Marshall" debuted in December 2006, and hundreds of members of the Marshall family packed the theater to once again see the story of the 1970 plane crash that took the lives of 75 football players, coaches, administrators and boosters and especially the efforts made to save the football program and compete once more. This was a movie that inspired a lot of people, on a actual script written to play out on the plane crash in 1970. Matthew McConaughey was the main actor in the movie, and he played the part as Jack Lengyel perfectly. The "WE ARE MARSHALL" chant, and the "WE ARE MARSHALL" movie both resemble on 'we' as in everybody in the city of Huntington West Virginia, the community, and the football team together. This film is based on a true story simply coming from the plane crash.
A long time ago when I was younger, I saw the "We Are Marshall'' movie and it moved me a lot emotionally because it was so inspiring. It was such an amazing story that needed to be told. It was truly inspiring to see a team that was devastated to rise up into the great team that they are today. This movie is the reason I decided to play football here. I loved the way everyone in the film worked as a team to complete one common goal. That is what the team now strives to do every day in practice. We work together to win games. Football is a sport that have to work together on and I think the team from the crash of '70 pulled this football program closer together. Without the support of the community and the athletic program, this football team would not be possible. The people in the community really support the football team in everything that we do, including hospital visits, fundraising, and giving back to many kids that are less fortunate than others. The community gives back to the team by showing up to every football game, every tailgate, and every event that the team may have. Marshall University and the community always come together as one. Every one who lives around the school is so caring and passionate about the students who attend school here.
As more time past after the devastating accident in 1970 Marshall still became a successful athletic program after years and years of losing until the program finally got back on track. Doc Holiday was named head coach of the Thundering herd and became the most winning team in their conference winning 33 games in two years. The herd has won five consecutive bowl games, and had the current longest streak in the FBS. Marshall's three straight 10 win seasons also are a first in the 20-season history of conference USA football.
In the movie "We Are Marshall", there is a quote that everyone in Huntington, West Virginia knows about. This quote brings the community together as one. From the ashes we rose is a motto that every one in this area lives by. Whether it is the football team, the students, the teachers, or anyone who lives around the school, we all join together when we hear the words "WE ARE... MARSHALL!"
"In the middle of Huntington, West Virginia there's a river. Next to this river there is a steel mill. And next to the steel mill there is a school. In the middle of the school, there is a fountain. Each year on the exact same day, at the exact same hour, the water to this fountain is turned off. And in this moment once every year, through out the town, through out the school, time stands still."