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Thundering Herd season ticket sales on the stampede

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - C-USA, see Mark Snyder, see the Herd.

A combination of a new league, a new home schedule and a new head coach has Marshall Thundering Herd football season ticket sales on the upswing.

Matt Monroe, Marshall University assistant athletic director of ticketing, said orders are on a pace to break the record for season tickets sales. He attributes the increase to those three key factors.

"It's a number of factors. It's probably due to (joining) Conference USA, a more attractive home schedule than we've ever had here and the interest with our new head coach. Those three things are why we're doing better," Monroe said.

Snyder was an All-Ohio quarterback at Ironton High School and later was a Div. I-AA All-American safety at Marshall. Monroe said Snyder's local ties have created more interest in the Herd.

"We've seen some new sales from (the Ironton/Ashland) area. We've definitely seen an increase in people coming back on board," Monroe said.

The ticket office has taken orders for 10,600-plus so far. The record is 13,730 set in 2002. Last season's total sales were 11,769.

"We're a little bit ahead of last year at this time," Monroe said.

Marshall's home football schedule this season begins Sept. 1 with William & Mary. Next is the much anticipated Sept. 10 game with Kansas State that will kickoff at 10:30 a.m.

The rest of the home schedule has SMU at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, Alabama-Birmingham at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, Southern Mississippi Nov. 8 at 7:30 and East Carolina Nov. 19 at 4:30.

One key away game is Oct. 8 at Virginia Tech.

Monroe said Marshall has a strong fan base in the Huntington area, but the need to improve that fan base is vital toward success in C-USA.

"We're trying to grow outside of Huntington in Charleston and Ashland and Ironton with coach. We're going to need that if we want our program to grow where we need to be," Monroe said.

Marshall's ticket office has a promotional blitz planned that will flood billboards in the area along with TV, radio and newspaper ads.

One advantage of purchasing season tickets and/or joining the Big Green Foundation is the availability to buy tickets to away games including next year's clash with instate rival West Virginia.

Fans must be a season ticket holder or member of the Big Green this year to be eligible for the Virginia Tech game, but they must be both a season ticket holder and a Big Green member next year to have away game ticket priorities.

"Adding the West Virginia game to the schedule in the future has increased our demand, especially for our away game sales," Monroe said. "There's not going to be too may tickets from West Virginia, so that should increase our (season) ticket sales."

Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-THE-HERD or visiting www.herdzone.com.