Yearbook, Nov. 14: Tragedy at Marshall

November, 14, 2012
Nov. 14, 1970: It was -- and still is -- the worst air disaster in American sports history, one that stunned a university and the city with which it was so intertwined. On this day 42 years ago, a chartered plane carrying 37 Marshall Thundering Herd football players, most of the program's coaches and a number of local boosters, crashed a few miles west of Huntington, W.V., killing all 75 people on board.

The team was returning from their game that Saturday, a 17-14 loss to East Carolina, when it clipped trees and went down not far from Tri-State Airport on a foggy night in the mountainous region. The aftermath was filled with sadness -- memorial services, canceled classes and a hollow feeling throughout Huntington.

The program continued, though, under new coach Jack Lengyel. It even won its second game of the 1971 season, and inspired the 2006 film "We Are Marshall."

Wreckage from the Marshall University football team plane crash in 1970AP Photo
Marshall University after the plane crash in 1970AP Photo
Patrick Dorsey works for SportsNation. He has worked for the Web and newspapers, had a cup of craft service coffee in film school, and played in one Division III golf tournament (he shot 105).



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