Bulldozers plow through wreckage of the DC9 chartered jet that crashed in Kenova, W.V., Nov. 15, 1970. A plaque was placed on the base on August 10, 1973, reading: They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever and this memorial records their loss to the university and the community. At 7:36 pm on November 14, 1970, the aircraft crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board in what has been recognized as "the worst sports-related air tragedy in U.S. history". [6] It was the second college football team plane crash in a little over a month, after the October 2 crash that killed 14 Wichita State players and 17 others. The 1970 plane crash involving Marshall’s football team is widely-considered the greatest tragedy in American sports. After suffering the loss to East Carolina on Nov. 14, 1970, a majority of the Marshall team boarded Southern Airlines Flight 932. Featured speakers were Chancellor Steve Ballard, Athletic Director Terry Holland, Pirates’ broadcaster Jeff Charles, and Marshall President Stephen Kopp. longitude." "Kenova to dedicate crash memorial Monday." As a memorial to the 75 victims, the Marshall players wore the number 75 on their helmets. A Tragic Plane Crash in 1970 Killed Most of Marshall’s Football Team and Inspired an Iconic Movie. [4] By the time the plane came to a stop, it was 4,219 ft (1,286 m) short of the runway and 275 ft (84 m) south of the middle marker. Officials at the site of the Nov. 14, 1970, Marshall University plane crash at Tri-State Airport in Kenova, W.Va., secure a charred engine for removal to an airport hangar. Classes at Marshall, along with numerous events and shows by the Marshall Artists Series (and the football team's game against the Ohio Bobcats), were cancelled and government offices were closed. In the report, the NTSB concluded, "[...] the probable cause of this accident was the descent below Minimum Descent Altitude during a nonprecision approach under adverse operating conditions, without visual contact with the runway environment". The Nov. 14, 1970 crash … [5] The accident is the deadliest tragedy to have affected any sports team in U.S. The tragedy shocked the town of Huntington in the worst way imaginable. Southern Airways Flight 932 was a chartered Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 domestic United States commercial jet flight from Stallings Field (ISO) in Kinston, North Carolina, to Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS) near Kenova and Ceredo, West Virginia. The opponent was scheduled to be East Carolina—the same team that defeated Marshall before the disaster took place. Marshall wore special black uniforms and the No. "[7]:36 At least one source says that water that had seeped into the plane's altimeter could have thrown off its height readings, leading the pilots to believe the plane was higher than was actually the case. [15], Marshall University President John G. Barker and Vice President Donald Dedmon appointed a Memorial Committee soon after the crash. Dawson and Parker were buying boiled peanuts at a country store in rural Virginia when they heard the news over the radio. On this date 50 years ago, Abbott piloted Southern Airways Flight 932 carrying the Marshall University football team. HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- After a plane crash killed most of Marshall University's football team in 1970, school administrators could have resorted to the … [7]:37, On November 15, 1970, a memorial service was held at the indoor, 8,500-seat Veterans Memorial Fieldhouse with moments of silence, remembrances, and prayers. [4] The following Saturday, another memorial service was held at the outdoor, 18,000-seat Fairfield Stadium. The tragedy touched many lives. Among the losses were nearly the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, numerous fans, and supporters. The crash occurred as the team’s plane was returning from a game at East Carolina. Fifty years ago last Saturday, a plane crash killed 75 people associated with the Marshall football team—wiping out the program for a brief and terrible moment, but not long. John Feinstein: Marshall football, 50 years after plane crash, carries on and remembers In some way, the banners ratified the unifying capacity of sports, given who juxtaposes whom on … The event marked a boundary by which an entire community would forever measure time… before or after “The Crash”. [4], The NTSB investigated the accident and its final report was issued on April 14, 1972. "[7] The airliner left Stallings Field at Kinston, North Carolina, and the flight proceeded to Huntington without incident. The aircraft "dipped to the right, almost inverted, and had crashed into a hollow 'nose-first'". It signified the team’s unity as not just a football team, but one family. “We Are Marshall” was the rallying cry for the Thundering Herd’s football program in 1970. [23] The tribute was repeated for the rest of the season, including when Marshall met Rice in the 2013 Conference USA Football Championship game. During the 1970 college football season, Marshall suffered a devastating loss to East Carolina in week 9 to drop the Thundering Herd to 3-6 on the year. The Marshall football team was killed in a plane crash 50 years ago after a game at East Carolina on Nov. 14, 1970. That included 37 Marshall football players, 25 team boosters, multiple coaches and team doctors, and Marshall’s athletic director. The report also noted that the craft approached the Catlettsburg Refinery in the final 30 seconds before impact, which "could have...affected...a visual illusion produced by the difference in the elevation of the refinery and the airport," which was nearly 300 ft (91 m) higher than the refinery, with hills in between. The accident also changed the city of Huntington, and the relationship between the university and the … Although the airport runway has since been lengthened past its original threshold, making historical measurements more difficult, the NTSB official report provides, "the accident occurred during hours of darkness at 38° 22' 27" N. latitude and 82° 34' 42" W. Marshall coach Rick Tolley demonstrating a move to team captain Dave Griffith, Mike Blake and Dave DeBord (left to right) in 1970. After the crash, Red Dawson helped bring together a group of players who were on the junior varsity football team during the 1970 season, as well as students and athletes from other sports, to form a 1971 football team. Aboard the plane were the Marshall University football team, coaching staff and boosters. Near Huntington, West Virginia . Parker flew to the game, but did not fly back, having switched places with Deke Brackett, another coach. Instead, the descent continued for another 300 ft (91 m) for unknown reasons, apparently without either crewmember actually seeing the airport lights or runway. The five Southern Airlines employees also died in the crash. It was unveiled to thousands 90 minutes before the game with the Miami University RedHawks. All 75 passengers on the team plane were killed in the crash, including 37 members of the Marshall University football team, eight football coaches, including head coach Rick Tolley, athletic director Charlie Kautz, 25 boosters , and five flight crew members. According to the official National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, the accident was "unsurvivable". December 10, 2006 Herald-Dispatch [Huntington]. No. It is based upon ideas by John and Ann Krieger of Huntington. The aircraft was a 95-seat, twin-jet engine Douglas DC-9-30 with tail registration N97S. December 11, 2006, Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field, 38° 22' 27" N. latitude and 82° 34' 42" W. longitude, 2013 Conference USA Football Championship game, List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft, "Marshall crash still looms after 36 years", "Plane crash devastates Marshall University", "The story of the 1970 Marshall Plane Crash", "Tragedy litters the sports landscape: Marshall remains the worst sports-related air disaster", "Reporter recalls memories from worst sports- related air tragedy in US history", "NTSB Aircraft Accident Report – Southern Airways Inc. DC-9, N97S, Tri-State Airport, Huntington, West Virginia, November 14, 1970", "People have not forgotten Marshall Crash 30 years ago", "Emotions of tragedy drew Lengyel to Marshall", "Marshall football, 50 years after plane crash, carries on, and remembers", "Akron Alum Jack Lengyel to Receive AFCA's McLaughry Award", "Memorial Fountain designed to represent 'upward growth, immortality, eternality, "Marshall Memorial Bronze unveiled to mix of emotions", "Marker placed at site of crash, Dec. 11, 2006", "43 years later, Marshall still honors memory of fallen players", "Marshall Football to Don `75' Helmets for Remainder of Season", "ECU, Marshall game postponed due to pandemic", Aviation history synopsis of Southern Airways Flight 932 (with photographs), List of Victims of Southern Airways Flight 932, PlaneCrashInfo.Com – Southern Airways Flight 932 Entry, Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program, Marshall University – South Charleston Campus, Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories, Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, Icelandair Flugfélag Islands Flight Fl 704, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Southern_Airways_Flight_932&oldid=998202481, Aviation accidents and incidents in the United States in 1970, Airliner accidents and incidents in West Virginia, Airliner accidents and incidents involving controlled flight into terrain, Accidents and incidents involving the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, November 1970 events in the United States, Aviation accidents and incidents involving sports teams, Articles with dead external links from May 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with dead external links from November 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 January 2021, at 08:03. An unfathomable 37 families were forced to mourn the death of their sons that fateful day. The team finished the 1971 season with a 2-8 record, but just winning a single game was a miracle after what Marshall went through a season prior. All were qualified for the flight. At the time, freshmen couldn’t play varsity sports in college. The Marshall football team tragedy remains one of the saddest sports stories of all time. [4][9], The effects of the crash on Huntington went far beyond the Marshall campus. ECU says its football team will not play Marshall, despite it being the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed most of Marshall’s team. A memorial plaque is displayed at the site of a 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people, including 36 Marshall football players Oct. 24, 2020, near Huntington, W.Va. The inspiring story even made it to the big screen in 2006. It was impossible for the remaining Marshall players to forget about their fallen teammates, but they had to when the 1971 season approached. [13][14], The Marshall University football team only won two games during the 1971 season, against Xavier and Bowling Green. history. At the time, Marshall's athletic teams rarely traveled by plane, since most away games were within easy driving distance of the campus. New coach Jack Lengyel, Marshall University students, and Thundering Herd football fans convinced acting Marshall President Donald N. Dedmon to reconsider cancelling the program in late 1970. A number of the victims are buried in a grave site in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington; 20th Street between Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Marshall's current on-campus football stadium, and Spring Hill Cemetery was renamed Marshall Memorial Boulevard in honor of the crash victims. It’s an inspiring tribute to those fallen lives and the devoted men who led Marshall back to glory. [10], The crash of Flight 932 so devastated the local community that it almost led to the discontinuation of Marshall's football program. [16], Every year, on the anniversary of the crash, the fountain is shut off during a commemorative ceremony and not activated again until the following spring. In 2006, Hollywood turned that inspiring slogan into one of the greatest sports movies ever made. The subsequent negotiations resulted in a reduction of the weight of passengers and baggage ... and the charter flight was scheduled. [2], The original proposal to charter the flight was refused because it would exceed "the takeoff limitations of their aircraft". Fifty years ago, on November 14, 1970, a plane carrying 75 members of the Marshall University football team, boosters and community leaders crashed on approach to Huntington Tri-State airport, killing everyone on board.The crash changed the university as the students and faculty grieved. Jack Lengyel became the football coach at Marshall University four months after the Nov. 14, 1970 plane crash that killed all 75 members of the football team’s traveling party. Bulldozers plow through wreckage of the DC9 chartered jet that crashed in Kenova, W.V., Nov. 15, 1970. (AP Photo/John Raby) RELATED: A Tweet Predicted a Tragic Death on the Notre Dame Football Field. That game did not occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While in the air, the plane struck a tree on a tall hill and crashed to the ground. In the transcript of their cockpit communications in the final minutes, the pilots briefly debated that their autopilot had "captured" for a glide slope descent, although the airport was only equipped with a localizer. HUNDRED," and the sounds of impact immediately follow. MARSHALL PLANE CRASH:In 1971, Bergen County native helped Marshall heal “My brother Teddy wore 44,” Tom Shoebridge said. by Jack Dougherty on June 22, 2020. [12], Head coach Rick Tolley was among the crash victims. Another employee of Southern Airways, Danny Deese, was aboard the flight to coordinate charter activities. [12] Jack Lengyel was named to take Tolley's place on March 12, 1971, after Dick Bestwick, the first choice for the job, backed out after just one week and returned to Georgia Tech. On Nov. 14, 1970, a plane carrying 75 people including Marshall's football team, coaches, staff, community members and flight crew crashed … During the 1970 college football season, Marshall suffered a devastating loss to East Carolina in week 9 to drop the Thundering Herd to 3-6 on the year. “So, when Teddy graduated, I became a sophomore, and I … It’s still considered the worst air disaster in American sports history. Because it was the Herd's only charter flight of the season, boosters and prominent citizens were on the plane, including a city councilman, a state legislator, and four physicians. Before the trip, they were scheduled to go on a recruiting mission to Ferrum College after the ECU–Marshall game, in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to recruit junior college linebacker Billy Joe Mantooth. [26], 1970 aviation accident in West Virginia, United States, A Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 similar to the aircraft involved in the accident, Pinkston, Antwon. The aircraft began its normal descent after passing the outer marker, but did not arrest its descent and hold altitude at 1,240 ft (380 m), as required by the assigned instrument approach procedure. [21], November 14, 2013, marked the first time that Marshall had played a road game on an anniversary of the disaster. [12] Lengyel led the Thundering Herd to a 9–33 record during his tenure, which ended after the 1974 season. At 7:36 p.m. Nov. 14, 1970, Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board. Lengyel, who came from a coaching job at the College of Wooster, was hired by the recently hired athletic director Joe McMullen, whom he had previously worked under at the University of Akron in the 1950s. [1][2], The plane was carrying 37 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, eight members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters, and two pilots, two flight attendants, and a charter coordinator. With 37 players gone due to the horrific tragedy, the NCAA allowed Marshall’s freshmen players to suit up the next season. [7], The airliner continued on final approach to Tri-State Airport when it collided with the tops of trees on a hillside 5,543 ft (1,690 m) west of runway 11 (now runway 12). “We Are Marshall” starred Matthew McConaughey as Jack Lengyel, the head coach who took over the program in 1971. HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — On the 50th anniversary of a plane crash that was the worst disaster in U.S. sports history, the Marshall University football … (JACK BURNETT/AP) Southern Airways Flight 932 was a chartered Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 domestic United States commercial jet flight from Stallings Field (ISO) in Kinston, North Carolina, to Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS) near Kenova and Ceredo, West Virginia. [24], Marshall was scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the air disaster in their football season opener on August 29, 2020. The NCAA made an exception for the Thundering Herd. On Nov. 14, 1970, Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed during its approach to Huntington, West Virginia. The Marshall football team is 6-0 heading into Saturday’s game with Middle Tennessee State. [16] The sculpture's designer, Harry Bertoia, created the $25,000 memorial that incorporated bronze, copper tubing, and welding rods. The airliner's crew was Captain Frank Abbot (47), First Officer Jerry Smith (28), and flight attendants Pat Vaught and Charlene Poat. [4] The controllers advised the crew that "rain, fog, smoke and a ragged ceiling" were at the airport, making landing more difficult, but possible. Among the victims were 36 Marshall football players. The co-pilot, monitoring the altimeter, called out, "It's beginning to lighten up a little bit on the ground here at ... seven hundred feet ... We're two hundred above [the descent vector]," and the charter coordinator replied, "Bet it'll be a missed approach." "[7] The remains of six passengers were never identified. 16 Marshall commemorated the 50th anniversary of a plane crash that killed 75 people -- including most of the Thundering Herd football team -- with a 42-14 victory over Middle Tennessee. They further stated, "The Board has been unable to determine the reason for this [greater] descent, although the two most likely explanations are (a) improper use of cockpit instrumentation data, or (b) an altimetry system error. Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick speaks next to the Memorial Fountain on the school’s campus in Huntington, W.Va., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Marshall fans and residents of Huntington, W.V. The Thundering Herd will be playing with tremendous emotion as the game is on the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that saw 75 players, coaches and fans die. Officials sift through wreckage. [25], The events of the crash are documented in an episode of Aircrash Confidential titled "Disastrous Descents". [3] The team was returning home after a 17–14 loss to the East Carolina Pirates at Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.[4]. 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