14th Nov2013

Today in History – Nov. 14 – Plane crash kills Marshall
football players

by Ken Clarke

On this day in 1970 a chartered plane carrying many of the Marshall Universities football team crashed into a hillside in West Virginia killing 37 players, the coach, its doctors the athletic director and 25 team boosters.

The team was returning home from a loss to East Carolina when the plane clipped some tree two miles from the airport. After the crash the town in which Marshall was located Huntington, West Virginia, went into mourning. The government and businesses closed and the next day the University held a memorial service at the stadium and canceled Monday’s classes.

The next year the NCAA granted Marshall an exemption to allow them to play freshman on the varsity team and under new coach Jack Lengyel they put together a team consisting of nine players who were not on the plane along with freshman and walk-ons.

Marshalls first game of the 1971 season was a road loss but in its first home game of the season and the first since the crash Marshal had a last second touchdown to win the game 15-13 over Xavier University. The team only won one more game that season.

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