The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 12, 2013

Marshall ready to honor crash victims

The last time Marshall played a road football game on Nov. 14 was the day of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of 75 people in 1970. There have been four games played since on that date, but all of them at home.

That streak will end Thursday, when the Thundering Herd (6-3, 4-1 Conference USA) visits Tulsa (2-7, 1-4) for an important league battle. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.

In its absence from the ceremonial shutting off of the Memorial Fountain on Thursday morning, the football team will wear the No. 75 on its helmets to honor those who perished 43 years ago. Coach Doc Holliday, a Hurricane native, spoke with the team Sunday and discussed Thursday’s significance.

“They found out the same time the media found out what we were going to do as for honoring the 1970 football team on Thursday night,” Holliday said Monday at his weekly press conference, a day early because of the Thursday game. “Our kids understand the history and what it is all about. We’ll remind them again on Wednesday when we get a little closer to game day.

“Our kids have always been at every memorial service and they understand from the moment they walk on campus what happened in 1970. They understand how important this football program is to the community, fan base and school because of what happened in 1970. They don’t need to be reminded, but they will be.”

It will be the Herd’s first game on Nov. 14 since a 27-20 loss to Southern Miss in 2009.

Holliday said the players are ready to represent an entire community on such a somber day.

“The players won’t be at the memorial service, but they will be there in spirit,” Holliday said. “We’ll have it streamed into the hotel so they can have an opportunity to see it. What better way to honor that team than on national television this Thursday night? That is a pretty special opportunity for this football team to be able to honor that (1970) team. I think it’s a great opportunity for them and our program to be able to share with the rest of the country what this program is all about.”

— E-mail: gfauber@

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