The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

August 15, 2006

Lengyel confident in direction of MU movie

Jack Lengyel understands Hollywood’s tendency to sensationalize whatever story is being told. But he hopes all of that will be kept to a minimum when “We Are ... Marshall” is released in December.

Lengyel, who was at The Resort at Glade Springs Monday for the M Club Golf Classic fund-raiser, is an authority on the events after the tragic Marshall plane crash that killed 75 players, coaches and supporters on Nov. 14, 1970. He became the new head coach when Marshall decided to carry on with the football program the following season.

So who better to critique the progress of the anticipated movie starring Matthew McConaughey?

“I think, by and large, they are doing what they said they were going to do, which is be true to the story,” Lengyel said while sitting outside the Cobb Course pro shop. “Oh, they’ve added some Hollywood driftings in there, and I understand what they have to do. They have made some composite people and they have changed some storylines a bit.

“I’m hoping by the end when we see the total movie that they stay true to the story and do what is right by the people who perished in the crash.”

Lengyel was the head coach at the College of Wooster when the crash occurred. He came to Marshall in March 1971 and coached a team made up of players who did not make the ill-fated trip to East Carolina, walk-ons and members of the 1970 freshman team.

He began to hear numbing stories of close calls and tragic twists of fate. He recalled one story Monday that will not be told in the movie.

“Eddie Carter was a player whose father died on a Monday or a Sunday, and he went back (home) for the funeral,” Lengyel said. “On Wednesday, he’s getting ready to come back and his mother became very hysterical. She said, ‘Son, don’t go back. The plane’s going to crash.’ She was so hysterical that he didn’t go back. And, of course, the plane crashed.”

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