MULTIMEDIAThe 1971 Roster
1971 Young Herd vs. Xavier starting lineup
The Young Herd reports for pre-season practice Aug. 19, 1971
The Sept. 18, 1971, newspaper discusses the season opener at Morehead
The Sept. 19, 1971, paper reported on the season opener loss at Morehead
The Sept. 26, 1971, edition of The Herald-Advertiser trumpets the Young Herd's first win after the crash
Guest BookDo you have a memory of a loved one lost Nov. 14, 1970? Are you new to the story and would like to comment?
1971 Game Stories
- The Long Road Back: Marshall Bows, 29-6: Morehead Wins '71 Opener (Sept. 18, 1971)
- Lengyel Unbowed; Hallum Pleased (Sept. 19, 1971)
- Young Herd Does It: MU 15, Xavier 13: Scores Touchdown On Final Play (Sept. 25, 1971)
- MU Cool Like Lengyel (Sept. 26, 1971)
- Redskins Massacre Herd, 66-6 (Oct. 3, 1971)
- NIU Downs Marshall, 37-18
(Oct. 9, 1971)
- Young Herd Runs Out Of Miracles, 13-0 (Oct. 16, 1971)
- Western Wallops Young Herd, 37-0: Scores 31 In Last Half (Oct. 23, 1971)
- Young Herd Stuns Bowling Green, 12-10 (Oct. 30, 1971)
- Kent Blanks Sputtering Herd, 21-0 (Nov. 6, 1971)
- Rockets Close Fast, Rip MU, 43-0 (Nov. 13, 1971)
- Error-Plagued Herd Bows To OU (Nov. 20, 1971)
- MU Coach Looks To The Future; Lengyel: We'll Be Better (Nov. 20, 1971)
The Young Herd
Published Nov. 14, 2007 HUNTINGTON -- When The Rev. Robert Scott celebrates Mass today at St. Austin Catholic Parish in Austin, Texas, he'll offer up a special prayer to people touched in any way by the Marshall University plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970.
Published Nov. 13, 2005 HUNTINGTON -- Coach Jack Lengyel had returned home from a successful day at the office. Lengyel, head football coach at the College of Wooster in 1970, directed the Fighting Scots to a 9-6 win at Oberlin College on the afternoon of Nov. 14. At home that evening with his wife, Sandy, they saw a bulletin on TV about the plane bringing the Marshall football team back from its game at East Carolina crashing.
Nate Ruffin was a last-minute scratch from the Marshall football team chartered jet to the Nov. 14, 1970, game at East Carolina. Ruffin was an injured defensive back, but still anticipated making the trip. At the last minute, he and a few other injured players were told that school boosters would take their seats on the jet, The Associated Press reported. On the flight back from Greenville, N.C., the jet crashed short of Tri-State Airport and all 75 people aboard died -- including most of the football team.
Red Dawson was somewhere around Greensboro, N.C., when he heard the news. The Marshall football team he had helped coach only hours earlier had been involved in a plane crash. Later, he learned that all 75 people aboard the DC-9 jet carrying the team, staff and some supporters back from Greenville, N.C., to Huntington died in the crash near Tri-State Airport.
Published Feb. 23, 2006. HUNTINGTON -- Sharon Ruffin can hear her late husband's voice as if he's right next to her, expressing his feelings about the Marshall University movie. "I can hear him saying up in heaven, 'They finally did it.'" she said.
Published June 10, 2006. ATLANTA -- Neither scorching heat nor a rash of recent surgeries would keep Reggie Oliver away from a reunion with Marshall University football teammates and alumni. Oliver, the Marshall quarterback who threw the game-winning pass in the Thundering Herd's emotional 1971 home victory over Xavier University, joined more than 350 people for a Saturday tailgate party and final filming stages of "We Are Marshall" in Atlanta.
Published April 4, 2006. HUNTINGTON -- Actor Matthew McConaughey approaches a 6-foot-9 basketball center, sizes him up and asks the giant if would like to play football for Marshall. At a distance, Jack Lengyel, the man McConaughey is playing in the movie "We Are Marshall," nods his head to show his approval.
Published June 7, 2006. ATLANTA -- Joe Gillette's association with Marshall University first began in 1969. A first-team All-Ohio defensive end at Johnstown High School near Columbus where he also played wide receiver, he started his college football career with the Thundering Herd as a wide out.
Published June 20, 2006 ATLANTA -- Mike Bankston had an academic conflict that prevented him from being one of the victims of the Nov. 14, 1970, Marshall University plane crash. Bankston was a student assistant coach for the 1970 Marshall football team working with the freshman squad. On Nov. 13, 1970, the Thundering Herd flew to Greenville, N.C., where it would meet East Carolina the next day. Bankston didn't make the trip because he had to take the National Teacher's Exam. There were no other possible dates.
Published May 11, 2009 Gail Parker's reprieve lasted 38 years, 6 months. You see, Parker began his brief association with Marshall University in 1970 when he landed a job as graduate assistant coach where he'd direct the freshman football team. His boss was varsity coach Rick Tolley. Parker, 27 at the time, had just completed a two-year stint, his first in coaching, at John Yeates High School in Suffolk, Va. It was time to move up to the next level, along with me, his quarterback at John Yeates, since I'd signed with Marshall. In addition, Parker would earn a master's degree.
Published Dec. 27, 2007 HUNTINGTON -- Be it real life or a movie, what Paul Smith experienced hurt. Smith was the Xavier University starting quarterback in 1971. On Sept. 25, 1971, Smith stood helplessly on the sideline as Marshall's Young Thundering Herd scored a touchdown on the final play of the game to stun the Musketeers, 15-13, and set off a wild celebration for the 13,000 fans in attendance that sunny day at Fairfield Stadium in Huntington.
Published Dec. 25, 2007 HUNTINGTON -- The hoopla surrounding "We Are Marshall" has disappeared. The notoriety Young Thundering Herd coaches and players gained from the Warner Bros. movie has not. Actually, it continues to build.
Published April 22, 2007 Call it closure. Call it running out of tears. Regardless, the Young Thundering Herd officially is in a good place. Utmost respect will always remain for their predecessors who perished in the 1970 Marshall University football plane crash, but this weekend's reunion featured much more celebration than sorrow. Unlike previous get-togethers, members of the 1971 Young Thundering Herd simply enjoyed a light, upbeat gathering.