Sunday, January 21, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
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
-Don - Atlanta GA
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
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
-Tina C. Phx, AZ
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
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
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
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.
Monday, January 01, 2007
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.
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.
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!