1970 Marshall Plane Crash: We Remember

What are your memories of Nov. 14, 1970? Share them here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

'God bless you'

God bless you and all of those whose lives this terrible tragedy affected.

I can't even begin to imagine the pain you have endured.I just watched the movie and was brought to tears many times during it. How beautifully the town has pulled together, helping one another get back on their feet.

They did a wonderful job with the movie. When I put it on, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Again, God bless you.

-Sue From MA

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"You Are Marshall"

I know the movie has been out for a while now, but me & my husband just had the pleasure of seeing it. We are both big football fans, but being from TX and only born in 83 & 84 had never really heard this tragic story. I have to say I have not cried so much or been so touched by a story in a long time! The movie was very well done & I thought paid very good tribute to all the lives that were lost. We are also from a small town & know how much of a tragedy loosing home town people can be. Loosing one person is bad enough much less 75 young to old. I have looked over the web site & read numerous blogs on how much those people are missed.

I just wanted to say that YOU ARE MARSHALL & you can continue to make it through with all 75 in your hearts! Good luck to the future Thundering Herds!-

Staci RetzlaffLexington TX

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Online site about the 1970 Marshall plane crash available again

During the transition to new content management software, we had to temporarily take down our "1970 Marshall Plane Crash: The Real Story" site in order to move it to the new platform.

I am pleased to announce the site has returned.

The site features:

* original game stories and rosters of the 1970 and ’71 teams.
* photo galleries of the teams, Fairfield Stadium and more.
* biographical information about the victims.
* stories about Jack Lengyel, Nate Ruffin and Red Dawson.
* a history of Marshall football.
* coverage of the filming of the movie.

Explore the site by clicking here.

If you should find any technical glitches, please e-mail to me at acopley@herald-dispatch.com.

Andrea Copley-Smith
online editor
The Herald-Dispatch

Monday, October 01, 2007

"God Bless both those who are gone and and those living"

I grew up in Huntington and we had just moved to Welch when the crash happened. I was young, about 12 however I still remember the gut wrenching feeling I had when I heard the news. The reporters talking about the shortage of funeral home space. My sister who still lives near the airport heard the explosion but didn't know what it was at the time, and never dreaming it was a plane until she turned on the news. Marshall has fought a long battle back and God Bless both those who are gone and and those living who played a part.


Monday, September 24, 2007

"We are all Marshall"

I have heard the phrase "We are Marshall" many times for years and have dismissed it as simple college pride. After seeing the film I will dismiss it no more. "We are all Marshall"
Danny Milner- Buford, Ga.

Young memory of the crash

Young memory of the crash:I was 8 years old and living in a suburb of Charleston when the news of the crash that evening came across the tv set,a plane had crash at tri-state airport. It was'nt until the next morning I awoke to find my mother reading the morning paper and weepingthat I learned it was the Marshall football team. Although we had no connection to Marshall, It was a sad time for us and I could'nt put the connection of our personal greif into perspective at that young age and even to this day the tragedy seems forever etched in my memory. Someone once spoke of the 1970 football team "THEY WILL ALWAYS BE SON'S OF MARSHALL" perhaps that explains the greif I saw in my mother the morning after the crash and yes of course that explains why... "We Are Marshall"


Sunday, September 23, 2007

"My heart goes out to those who lost a loved one"

I just watched We Are Marshall last night, and I will forever remember this movie, and the tragedy. My heart goes out to those who lost a loved one that day.

"Not just about football"

First off I'm a big Texas Longhorn fan. I never heard about the Marshall tragedy until recently mostly due in part because it happened before I was born. After watching the movie, I was just blown away. I've seen so many football movies, Rudy, The Program, Remember the Titans, the list goes on. But, I have to say, this movie tops the list. It had to have been the best football movie that I've ever seen. This movie was not just about football, it was about overcoming tragedy together as a "family", which is what We are Marshall entails, and overcoming that tragedy head on with strength, love, and compassion for all. I know that it had to be devastating to lose an entire football team, but most importantly to lose loved ones. After watching this movie, I was truly moved. This movie will always be one of my favorites of all time. The heart can be a big place if you have one, for me there will always be a place in my heart for Marshall. WE ARE MARSHALL!!!!!GOD BLESS


"One of the most emotional movies that we have seen this year"

I was watching the Marshall vs WVU game on opening day of ncaa football when the commentater was talking about the movie. Me and my wife saw the movie last night,it was one of the most emotional movies that we have seen this year,the annoucer was right when he said if this film dosent bring tears to your eyes you better check to see if you have a heart beat..GO MARSHALL.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'The best football movie'

This was an amazing movie!! Has to be the best football movie I have ever seen. I am from Kentucky when I was a kid I can remember visiting Huntington when I visited family in Ashland. We drove bye the college and my uncle told me of the tragedy that happened there. I can still remember the day we was going out to eat at Jim's I think it was called it served spaghetti I think it was a restaurant in town in Huntington. After seeing the movie I really wanna visit the memorial and pay my respects. Thanks for sharing your story with us younger generations.

Jeff Sexton- Whitesburg, Ky

In memory of Joe Hood

Hi my name is Monica Hood my uncle was #33 Joe Lee Hood he was a great player and a teriffic person and i love and miss him very much.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

" it truely shows the strength and compassion of the human spirit"

My girls and i have just watched the movie WE ARE MARSHALL i had no knowledge of this dreadful tragedy until watching this movie.

I went through so many emotions in this movie that took me by surprise the movie was great it really took you to the place and time of these events. I can only imagine the utter grief saddness loss disbelief this community would have felt but it is truely amazing the way these tragedies tend to bring a community together under such difficult circumstances you all should be so proud of yourselves for what you have had to endure it truely shows the strength and compassion of the human spirit. God bless you all xoxo


Sunday, August 05, 2007

'Never forget'

I grew up near Huntington. I was 12 when the plane crashed. For years, the crash haunted the town, the school and the area. When I attended Marshall from 1976 to 1980, there was always a hushed reverence for those who died so young, so needlessly. Over the years, the Crash still reveberates in my mind. In fact, I still wonder why the pain never really fades away. I live hundreds of miles away from Huntington and when I visit every year, the campus still reminds me of that terrible, foggy, fateful Saturday night in November 1970. We must never forget where we've been so that we know where we can go. Go Herd!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"I remember"

I am a native of the state of West Virginia. Although I have lived 20+ years of my life in an larger Eastern city. I was only 7 when the Marshall accident happened but, I remember that night well. I remember mainly the SADNESS my parents felt. I remember the look on their faces to this day. I remember the news reports and people talking about this horrible accident. I still remember those who passed each year on the date. God bless those we lost and the families and friends they left behind. May your memory NEVER be forgotten. For WE ARE.....MARSHALL!!!


Monday, February 19, 2007

'We are all Marshall'

I saw “We are MARSHALL” last night it was a toss up between it and “Norbit” I had seen the trailers but being from Jamaica, living in Jamaica American Football is not that important. We are a nation of Football (Soccer), Track and Field and Cricket. I saw the movie mainly for the two Matthew’s but I came away with so, so much more.

I felt every pain and heartache every joy and triumph of this film in fact it is more than a film it’s a blueprint of overcoming adversity and carving out a successful future, this could have turned out so different had it not been for the people who were willing to fight, cry and stand up. In playing that first season they honoured those who loved the game and died still loving it. Marshall football had a future after the accident maybe it didn’t before. I know that if you love something you want it to live on, all the persons on that flight that night opened a door of togetherness of the fighting spirit in their loved ones and friends left behind to go on. and go on they did. I now feel like... we are all Marshall.

One love

Natalie Campbell,

Kingston, Jamaica W.I

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Where is Frank Loria buried?

I live near Virginia Tech where Frank Loria is a hero. I was wondering if anyone could tel me where he is buried, the town and the cemetery? I would like to visit and pay my repects this summer. I saw the Marshall movie and it was very touching. I am now a Hokie/Thundering Herd Fan. You can email me at godrulz@valink.com

-thanks, Dylan

Thursday, January 18, 2007

'Tradition and persistence'

I grew up outside Chapmanville W.Va on a farm, born in 1947 and I am a MU graduate of 1973 with a major in Physics.

In the summer of 1970 I went back to MU after getting out of the U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg and getting married to the young Mindi Ingram of Raleigh, N.C. I had previously attended MU before the Army, and being somewhat of a B-Ball Gym Rat I played basketball that summer in Gullickson Hall with some of the 1970 Football team members.

I remember Ted Shoebridge, the 1970 Football team QB as a nice guy. B-Ball can be pretty competitive but Ted was always good to everyone. We later attended the MU Branch at Logan because my mother was sick that fall and we lived at home.

After listening to the game that Saturday on a crackly radio, I remember going outside that night and noting that it was overcast, foggy and very still, telling my wife that something felt odd that night. We later learned that night of the plane crash.

I remember the memorial services and thinking of the players I had played basketball with and how hard that was for their families. It also made many of us realize our mortality and what a great gift that life was to all of us.

We later attended MU that Spring in Huntington and I remember playing b-ball at lunch with Red Dawson and some of the faculty members, one of the main characters in the movie. I remember watching the MU football players that spring running up and down the stairs in Gullickson Hall and I knew some of them from living off campus and playing b-ball.

I was tempted to play and Red brought it up a couple of times but never pushed. I was always impressed with Red and his friendliness. I remember how unassuming he was and his telling us of his football career at Florida State as a wide reciever, most likely the Bobby Bowden connection and why Red knew him.

There was always a sadness there though and it did not surprise many of us that he did not come back after the 71 season, but I was always impressed with the kind person he was, he never lost control in B-Ball, even though he was a competitor.

My wife remembers me talking about playing football but I passed on that, I graduated in less than 3 years after coming back and with a wife and a child one feels a responsibility to get a job.

I always went to the home games and I remember the Xavier game so well and what a "miracle" that seemed, Bill James and the James Gang (his family) and Reggie Oliver and his dogged determination, the team leader and Nate Ruffin. MU football in 1971 was more than football, it taught a lot of us what people, coaches and players could accomplish.

Although only winning 2 games that season MU football showed over the years how valuable persistence really is. If the school had not put a team on the field I really believe that a lot of us might not be the people we are today, at least in not having heros and realizing that tradition does affect our lives.

I am also a WVU grad with a major in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics or Mechanical Engineering. I was pleased to see the connection brought out in the movie between MU and WVU, I hope the fans of both schools realize the two universities are more friends than foe, it's always tough when they play each other, especially when you bleed Green and White and Blue and Gold.

When Mindi and I were married she remembers my nightmares of a plane crashing in the mountains of W. Va., dreams that I had ever since a kid. They stopped after the 1970 football team crash. I had reservations about seeing the movie but after going with my wife I remember all the good times at MU. I have seen it 4-5 times and I have not gotten tired of it. Yes, the film may be a bit hammy in places but it truly is inspirational, especially having known many of the people in it. Tradition and persistence. Those guys and coaches are still my heroes.

-Dr. Scott Lucas, Class of 73

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

'I would be proud for my kids to go to Marshall'

In 1970 I was only 7. I was and still am a big football being raised about 30 from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I remebering wondering just who the "Thundering Herd" was. Some years ago I remeber reading and article on the Plane Crash in Time magazine. I thought then this was such touching story of tragedy and overcoming adversity that I would have thought they would have made a movie about this. I am a big Crimson Tide fan but I would be proud for my kids to go to Marshll. God bless you all.

-Don - Atlanta GA

'God bless you, ma'am'

Mrs. Beiter, The AP story featuring you and your reaction to the "We Are Marshall" movie was featured in our Clarksburg, W.Va., Sunday paper yesterday.

Since your husband's face is the only one I personally can associate with the Marshall plane crash, I wanted to say hello and found this way to do just that.

My name is Drew Crislip, and the year your husband died I was a sophomore at Bridgeport High School, in the county where I now again live. Early that fall, all students were required to attend a college fair held one day at our school, and to select three colleges to "visit."

As a child of non-college parents who had never thought about going anywhere but WVU, I of course selected WVU and also Fairmont State, because it was close to home, and Marshall, because it was the 2nd largest school in W.Va.

Your husband was the M.U. representative that day. I don't recall much of what he said but I do remember, at least generally, what he looked like and that he was wearing a suit! My next memory is of seeing a small card posted on the bulletin board outside the school's main office in December, in memoriam to Dr. O'Connor.

After I graduated high school in 1973, I did go on to WVU, and earned a B.A. and then a law degree. While in high school, I became a Christian and started involvement that continues today with the W.Va. Baptist Camp at Cowen. Friends I met there, mostly from 5th Ave. Baptist Church, encouraged me to move to Huntington and I did and loved living and working there 1979-1991.

While there, I served for three years as an adjunct instructor at Marshall. Not surprisingly, I also met and became close with many people who were touched by the Marshall crash, although none as directly as you were. Still, the only face I personally could put on the tragedy was that of your husband, since his was the only one I had actually seen and had some memory of.

Since I left Huntington, I have lived in different places all in W.Va. and finally about 12 years ago returned to my home county, where I now serve as Family Court Judge. I keep close ties with my Huntington friends and even though I bleed blue and gold (WVU), was thrilled for them and our State when I heard about the planned "We Are Marshall" movie.

My wife and I had the chance to see it recently and it was as wonderful and moving as I hoped it would be. There is no way, of course, that I can understand what you went through that terrible night, or since. There is no way I can comprehend the range of emotions that the movie must have produced in you and your children.

Please know how terribly sorry I am for your ordeal but also how glad I am for you that you, like me, have come to know and find solace in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I don't claim to have known your husband. Frankly, I probably wouldn't recall him at all, or what he looked like, if it weren't for that memory being reinforced and burned into my brain by the tragedy itself and by that "in memoriam" card on my high school's bulletin board. But, whenever I think of the tragedy, I think of him, and I wanted you to know.

God bless you, ma'am.


Monday, January 15, 2007

In memory of Stuart Cottrell

I knew Stuart very well. I lived on the 7TH floor of South Hall in 1970.

Stuart was a roommate of Rick Braudigan. I lived two doors down accross the hall from Stuart.

Stu ( Gator) had a great personality and to this day I can still see his smiling face. I have a few pictures of Stuart and of the other guys who lived on the 7Th floor. He is still 19 to me also. Always remember never forget.

-Charlie Gerry Woburn, Massachusetts

Sunday, January 14, 2007

'Let the healing continue'

Saw the movie finally this past weekend. Had to work up to it. I was a 13 year old Logan County resident at the time. Both my older brother and sister attended Marshall. I moved out west in the late 70s. I would mention the tragedy to people in conversation and they wouldn't know what I was talking about. This movie relays the devastating impact the tragedy had on the community. Let the healing continue...

-Tina C. Phx, AZ

'I will be following Marshall sports a lot closer'

My wife and I just watched this wonderful and haunting movie here in Salt Lake City. Needless to say, we did not sleep well last night. I knew of Marshall football, but little of the community. We are recommending this movie to all of our friends and family. Additionally, I will be following Marshall sports a lot closer with pride and excitement.


'It makes me consider my life'

We just returned from seeing this movie. We live in the southern US, and I'm 35 now, so before this movie came out, I had never heard of the tragedy. I experience feelings that I have never experienced in a movie theater before - grief for those who lost loved ones that horrible night, joy at the courage Nate showed in his commitment to uphold the honor of the team, and sadness for youth lost and dreams and hopes dashed. This movie and the story it tells will be with me forever. It makes me consider my life and the paths that each of us make for ourselves. It makes me want to continue to make my parents proud. It makes me want to live a good life for those who never had the chance to live theirs.


'Sadness never goes away'

My husband and I saw the movie "We Are Marshall" this afternoon. This movie brought back painful memories that our community suffered almost 30 years ago when two of our local heroes, who were members of the University of Evansville Purple Aces were killed along with all their team members, coaches and other community members on a flight while enroute to a basketball game. This occurred on December 13, 1977 almost 7 years after the Marshall tragedy. The sadness never goes away and does affect a community forever. Time has passed and some of the pain has healed but this movie definitely depicted the feelings we who have lost those special to us will always feel. This movie will stay close to my heart for a long time. God bless all the families and friends of those lost in this tragedy.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

'A sad time'

Marshall Remembered: I was born and raised in Huntington and I was a sophmore at HHS on the night of the crash. Several of my high school classmates and friends of my family lost their parents plus my childhood doctor...Dr. Joseph Chambers. I currently live in northern California and when I went to see the movie I proudly wore my Marshall Alumni shirt. People who never attended Marshall or lived in Huntington were laughing and crying during the movie and afterwards several people wanted to talk to me about Huntington and Marshall...it was a sad time but I was proud to be an alumni of Marshall University.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

In memory of Dr. Joseph and Peggy Chambers

I have just come from seeing "We Are Marshall" for the second time. I have lived in Huntington all my life, and I feel that we are all one big family because of the size of our town and our love for Marshall University. The only two that I personally knew on the doomed flight Nov. 14, 1970, was Dr. Joseph Chambers and his wife, Peggy. We were all church friends, as well as doctor patient relationships. I also grew up with Debbie Chambers, and thought she was just the sweetest girl ever. She was also a Marshall cheerleader. My heart goes out to everyone who had someone close to them die that terrible night, and for the people that have a great love for this town and Marshall University. This movie deserves an academy award, as far as I'm concerned because I have never felt the same feelings about any other movie in my 58 years of life. May God be with you all, and keep this small town safe from any other tradegy, and may it keep growing by coming from ashes to glory. Rest in Peace, my beloved Marshall family.

Keep Ruffin's number on the field

I wasn't fortunate enough to know Nate Ruffin, all I know about him is what I've read and what I saw in "We Are Marshall." He should be in Marshall's Hall of Fame post haste. I'm unsure about retiring his number, though. Maybe in a way, keeping his number in circulation is a tribute to the man who fought to keep Marshall football alive. He never tired of telling the story of 1970's team and why that story should never be forgotten. If his number is retired, this part of Marshall University's amazing story and history is discontinued and not passed on to further generations. Instead of making his number part of a display, let the tradition continue and may someone take the time to tell each young man who wears that number the story of the man who refused to allow Marshall football to die. Of course, the film tells the story, but let the younger generations proudly wear Nate's number on the playing field.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

'God bless everyone'

I just saw the movie today with more than 300 middle school students from WGMS. The school principal is a Marshall alumni and arranged to take the school to view this piece of history. Needless to say, the students were moved, as were the attending staff. As a parent, I enjoyed the underlying messages.

After returning home, I spoke with my grandmother who is approaching 80 years of age. She told me of her childhood friend who was married to the team physician and had died that November night. She also told me of a local boy who was pulled off of the plane due to a death in his family. I'm sure there are many, many stories yet to be told.

God bless everyone involved for telling this story and reminding all of us the importance of small towns, teamwork and football.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

'Pay our respects'



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

In memory of Nate Ruffin

I saw the movie yesterday, enjoyed it greatly and I was particularly pleased to learn more about Nate Ruffin, who I knew professionally, mostly in the 1980s. I was a mid-level editor, and he was HR director at a newspaper in Jackson, Miss. On more than one occasion, Nate proved to be a man of sterling character. He knew that HR work was about more than filling jobs and shuffling paperwork. He cared about the "human" part of the equation ... and now I know a bit more why.

-Bill Sutley

'God bless the people of Huntington'

I just saw the movie yesterday with my husband. I laughed with you and I cried with you. I can only get a glimpse into the depth of your pain and your loss but my heart goes out to all those lost and all those left behind to carry on without those they loved. God Bless the people of Huntington and the people at Marshall. May they all rest in peace.


In memory of Barry Nash


Monday, January 01, 2007

'A good glimpse into grief'

I have lived in Sacramento, CA on and off for over 40 years, but because of my aunt and uncle, who had a farm on Spring Valley Drive, I considered Huntington to be my 2nd home.

I used to go back there summers for years. Later as a student at UVA I made many a long (8 hours on Rt 60) weekend trip to be with my aunt,uncle & cousin.

I remember my uncle taking me to a Marshall game just weeks before the accident - I think they were playing Kent State but cannot find a 1970 playing schedule.

I thought how eerie and empty to realize that virtually everyone I saw on that field from Marshall that day was now gone.

I saw the movie yesterday and felt it captured the time rather accurately - although I called my cousin and said that in all the years I'd been to Huntington I never heard of a "Boones" restaurant and she said it was really Wiggins.

I don't think any director could really capture the full sense of loss and grief Huntington had but the movie gave a good glimpse into that grief.

-Bill Brandt

'Sports does have a place in our society'

I was a student at ECU in 1970 working for the sports department under the Sport Info Director. I attended the memorial service led by head coach Mike McGee.

The movie was great, a story that needed telling. Without the Internet back then, it was difficult to keep up with the happenings at Marshall after the crash. Thanks to the persistence of those who made this movie possible. It shows how sports does have a place in our society. For celebration and remembering.

-Rich Rainey, Sports Editor, 1970 ECU yearbook.

In memory of Frank Loria

I remember when I heard about the crash and saw a list of the casualties I thought of Frank Loria.

In 1964 I played high school football at Phillip Barbour High School and I had the opportunity to play against him. He was one of the best backs I ever played against (on both sides of the ball). No surprise he became an all-american. After all these years, I still remember. May he eternally rest in peace!

-Gary L.