Marshall remembers plane crash Saturday

Published 2:07 am Friday, November 12, 2010

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Marshall Thundering Herd hopes to remember its greatest loss with a win.

The 40th anniversary of the 1970 Marshall plane crash that killed 75 people including the football team, coaching staff, athletic officials, boosters and medical staff will be remembered Saturday when the Herd hosts the Memphis Tigers in a Conference USA game.

Marshall coach Doc Holliday was an eighth grade student when tragic crash occurred. He said he remembers it vividly.

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“I understand the importance of it to the program. I understand the tragedy and I understand the questions on why it happened,” said Holliday.

“I understand the history and how far we came to getting back to winning championships. There are bigger programs in American than what Marshall University is, but there is not a program in America where the football team and the football program means more to the fan base and more to the university and the community and more to school because of what we have gone through.”

One of the greatest tragedies in sports history will be recalled on Sunday with a 1 p.m. memorial service at the Memorial Fountain on the campus of Marshall University.

Prior to Saturday’s 3 p.m. kickoff, three members of the 1970 coaching staff not on the plane will be recognized: Mickey Jackson, Carl Kokor and Red Dawson.

Luciann Kautz Call, daughter of athletic director Charlie Kautz, will also be recognized along with eight remaining members of the cheerleading squad.

The family of Marcelo Lajterman will be recognized in the first quarter for endowing a scholarship in Marelo’s memory. Coach Jack Lengyel and a group of members from the 1971 “Young Thundering Herd” will be in attendance.

The tragedy led to the 2006 Warner Brothers movie “We Are Marshall” and the award-winning documentary called “Ashes to Glory.”

Marshall (3-6, 2-3 C-USA) will attempt to keep its hopes for a .500 season alive against Memphis (1-8, 0-5).

“Everyone is talking about going 3-0 (the rest of the season) and making a bowl, but if we don’t go 1-0 this weekend there is no chance of going 3-0,” said Holliday.

The Tigers have two faces linked to Marshall football. Former Herd assistant Jay Hopson is the Memphis’ defensive coordinator while ex-Marshall honorable mention All-American Shannon Morrison is the cornerbacks’ coach.