College Football Junkie

A Blog To Share My Tour of College Football

Marshall University

Posted by Strickland on April 13, 2009

"We Are Marshall" sculpture “We Are Marshall”

You can learn some things when you go on trips like I’ve been trying to do in watching college football and seeing their stadiums. For example, I didn’t know that Huntington, WV, and some surrounding areas in KY, were a bad place to watch your weight and health. But, you always pick up little things that you forget. For example, I forgot that Marshall was part of the Division 1-AA and won National Championships in 1992 and 1996. I forgot that Jim Donnan was the coach at Marshall (1990-1995; 64-21-0; .753%; 1 national championship; and three national runner-up championship games) before leaving and going to the Georgia Bulldogs. But, I didn’t forget that Marshall is well known for some football players. These are the players that I know, and usually people hear: Chad Pennington, Randy Moss, Byron Leftwich. I know that there are more, and some I probably would know if I say their name, number, and the NFL team they are on. But, currently, here are the three that I know from hearing every Sunday in the NFL. I didn’t know who “#72 Gatski” was, who was on the press box, until I did a little research (I know this is from wikipedia, but it had some good information about him). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame (here is some information about him from that site). But, there was one thing that I didn’t fully really know about until the trip to Huntington, WV…Flight 932.

Flight 932 was the flight from North Carolina, where Marshall played East Carolina earlier in the day, that crashed with the Marshall team and flight crew all on board. It crashed while it was about to land in Huntington, WV. There is so much out there on the internet about the team, the crash, and everything after that tragic day. One of the sites that I found interesting to look at has pictures of the memorial cemetery, pictures of the landing strip at the airport, newspaper articles, sound bytes, a telegram from President Nixon, and much more. The game that we went to go see was the 38th year anniversary of the plane crash. It happened on the weekend on November 14, 1970. I did not even think about this when I went, or scheduled, the trip. Each year, the university remembers those on the plane that crashed by turning off the Memorial Fountain until the following spring. There is just so much out there about the event, that really they do more justice than what I could write.  And, I haven’t even mentioned about the movie, “We Are Marshall”.

We ate at the “Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe” which is a part of other “hall of fame” cafe’s (“Buckeye HOF” (Ohio State), “Cardinal HOF” (Louisville), and “Spartan HOF” (Michigan State). Now, I know that there are many other places to eat in watching a game. But, we didn’t know where to eat. And, I did see this restaurant on the Marshall University website. So, we just went. It was a great place to eat, watch any football game, and see many Marshall sports memorabilia.

After eating, we went to the stadium, and got our tickets. We were there about an hour before kickoff. It was a cold, misty, rainy day. We pulled up to the stadium, and it was not spectacular to be honest. It was small. And, compared to the other Conference USA teams and their stadiums, I would say that Marshall’s is the smallest. Although, being small can have it’s advantages, it just seemed like it was just stuck on the side of the road. All of this is my view of the stadium once I drove up on it. The stadium on the inside was still small, but you felt that you were right there on the field. The stadium’s name is Joan C. Edwards Stadium.  It was “named in honor of philanthropist Joan Edwards.” We got to the stadium early and bought our tickets.  Once getting our tickets, we entered into the stadium and began just looking around.

Originally, this trip was designed to take some high school boys from the church I am a minister.  But, due to the rain and cold, no one showed up except two adults that were going to go with me.  So, the four of us (one adult brought his son) just watched the pre-game activities on the field which were the teams warming up.  By watching the teams warming up, walking around the stadium, trying to stay warm, trying to stay dry, and looking at souvenirs, we killed enough time.  Now, all we had to do is just wait for some person that was not going show up for the game and take their seat close to the field…forget where our ticket told us to sit.

We found the seat that we wanted, and watched the game.  I believe the highlight of the trip came around the end of the 3rd quarter/beginning of the 4th quarter.  Of course, we were joking around the whole game while watching the game, but now we had a new challenge.

The challenge was I wanted to try to get on the JumboTron.  There was two cameramen that we saw the whole game.  One cameraman was from CSTV, which was televising the game.  He would video the game, but also he would occasionally video the crowd.  There were several times where he was in our area videoing, and of course some people in the crowd went crazy to be on television (if anyone can send me the video of me on television, I would appreciate it.  I’m wearing a red wind-breaker jacket.).  I eventually got my group crazy.  Then, the other cameraman was from the university.  This is the cameraman that put video on the JumboTron.  Long story short, he realized what I was trying to do.  So, me and the group got on the JumboTron several times by just being crazy.  I got some pictures of us on the JumboTron, and I got some picture of me taking my picture of me on the JumboTron.  By this time in the game, we believe people were watching us than the game.

We had a great time of just being together and having clean fun.

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