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
ANTHONY HANSHEW: One August afternoon told the rest of the story
The afternoon of Aug. 18, 2004, quietly told the true story behind Bobby Pruett's coaching success at Marshall.
No, the Thundering Herd wasn't battling for a championship and ESPN's satellite trucks were nowhere in sight. But within a two-hour span, Pruett proved why he was so right for his dream job for so long. He displayed three distinct faces during the sun-soaked workout on Marshall's grass practice field, and each was equal parts genuine and appropriate.
It began like so many Marshall workouts, with Pruett taking in the action while occasionally interacting with fans. Early on, Pruett was asked if he wouldn't mind meeting a Marshall student's father, who was in the midst of a battle with throat cancer.
As though he'd just chugged three Red Bulls, Pruett immediately made his way toward Harold Ellis. The Man, W.Va., resident was in town for treatment and was taking in his first Herd practice with his son, Marshall junior B.J. Ellis.
Safe to say, the red (maybe make that green) carpet was available to the Ellis family. Pruett dispatched a staff member to secure some Herd attire and led the elder Ellis to several position stations to meet and greet players in mid-practice. The highlight of the visit featured the offensive linemen, who towered over both coach and fan.
"We're a little short in numbers on the line right now," Pruett said to Harold Ellis. "We might need to see if we can get you in there."
Along with some bit of light-natured back and forth, Pruett also took the time to sincerely ask about the details of Ellis' condition and treatment. Pruett and Ellis, similar in age, spoke more as contemporaries, not as well-known coach and cancer victim.
After offering his best wishes, Pruett turned his attention to practice, which was brought to a startling halt moments later. Josh Davis, considered among the nation's top wide receivers, awkwardly twisted to the ground after reaching behind his body for a pass.
Davis' knee gripped the grass surface, contorting his leg out of place. Marshall's leading wideout shouted in pain, and Pruett quickly made his way to midfield.
Understandably, Davis was tough to console, virtually certain that his senior season was lost. Pruett calmed his player with a consistent, controlled message -- "Don't panic. There's no way to know how bad it is."
Davis eventually gathered himself and spent the remainder of practice under the trainer's tent. Pruett was a frequent visitor, maintaining his upbeat tone.
As practice neared its end, the veteran coach led a senior starter to the side for a terse conversation. With both Ellis and Davis, the tone was upbeat. This time, Pruett wasn't pleased with his player's actions on or off the field and it was Pruett the disciplinarian speaking.
"I can't count on you right now," Pruett said, waving his arms open for emphasis. "I need you to be a leader."
In less than two hours, three distinct scenarios illustrated precisely why Pruett was Marshall's ideal fit for nearly a decade. He could play both good and bad cop with players, and beyond anything else, Pruett genuinely enjoyed being around people.
The senior starter, by the way, responded with the best season of his career. Davis indeed wasn't injured seriously and he's projected as a mid-round NFL Draft prospect.
Most importantly, Ellis recently learned he was in full remission from throat cancer. Pruett, who loved playing for championships, can add a final victory for the Thundering Herd.