Marshall Football History
- NCAA Division I-AA 1992
- NCAA Division I-AA 1996
Bowl Game Victories:
- Motor City Bowl - 1998
- Motor City Bowl - 1999
- Motor City Bowl - 2000
- GMAC Bowl - 2001
- GMAC Bowl - 2002
- Little Caesars
Pizza Bowl - 2009
- W.Va. Athletic Conference 1925
- W.Va. Athletic Conference 1928
- W.Va. Athletic Conference 1931
- Buckeye Conference 1937
- MAC 1997
- MAC 1998
- MAC 1999
- MAC 2000
- MAC 2002
Coach Bobby Pruett
- Pruett left an indelible mark on Marshall football
- 1996: The greatest season
- 1997: A great I-A beginning
- 1998: Herd takes giant step
- 1999: Commanding respect
- 2000: MAC champions, again
- 2001: Miracle in Mobile
- 2002: A year of inspiration
- 2003: Herd's MAC reign ends
- 2004: Season of discontent
- Timeline of MU Coach Bobby Pruett's life and career
- TIM STEPHENS: Pruett turned losses into life lessons
- ANTHONY HANSHEW: One August afternoon told the rest of the story
- ERNIE SALVATORE: Easygoing Pruett a sportswriters' dream
MU Football History
Tragedy helped bring school, city together in time of need
By DAVID WALSH
HUNTINGTON -- Joe Williams, his wife, Shirley, and some friends traveled to Toledo, Ohio, on Sept. 26, 1970 to watch the Toledo Rockets roll to a 52-3 win over their Marshall Thundering Herd.
Despite that outcome, Williams and Co. thought seriously about getting on the Marshall team chartered flight for a Nov. 14 road game against the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, N.C. Williams said they ultimately passed on the trip because of financial reasons.
Later on that rainy Nov. 14 evening, Joe and Shirley Williams were in the living room at home when they heard the news, first by television and then phone calls, that a plane had gone down at Tri-State Airport in Kenova.
"We heard about a crash," the Huntington businessman said. "We thought it was a commercial flight. Later, we found out it was the Marshall plane."
The chartered Southern Airways jet bringing the team back from the game crashed into a hillside short of the runway. All 75 passengers died.
"I cried," Williams said. "There was such great sorrow. You think, 'why?' We lost some fine young people. We lost some real leadership, too."
Shortly after the crash, the school decided to keep football and the task of rebuilding the program fell to Jack Lengyel, a successful NCAA Division III coach at the College of Wooster.
Williams said the crash helped bring the school and city together in a time of need.
"Not only from a racial standpoint, but from a social standpoint," he said. "People realized how important Marshall was to Huntington and the region."
Williams believes Marion T. "Bunchie" Gray, a charter member of the Huntington-Cabell County branch of the NAACP, had a role in the healing process. "She always preached harmony," he said.
Starting with the 1971 season, Williams and Co. stuck with the Herd through all the down times, including a a 66-6 loss at Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 2, 1971. In 1977, Miami came to Fairfield Stadium and the Herd posted a 21-16 victory. After the game Williams got a small plastic football. He wrote the score on the ball and placed in a safe spot at home.
"That was a great day," he said. "I held it against Miami (66-6 win) in 1971."
Marshall posted a 6-5 record in 1984 for its first winning season since 1964. Herd football has been on a amazing ascent ever since.
"People like to be able to brag on their team. We can and that makes us all proud, Williams said."