Marshall Thundering Herd football
|Marshall Thundering Herd football|
|Athletic director||Mike Hamrick|
|Head coach||Doc Holliday
4th year, 27–24–0 (.529)
|Home stadium||Joan C. Edwards Stadium|
|Field||James F. Edwards Field|
|Location||Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.|
|All-time record||552–524–47 (.512)|
|Postseason bowl record||8–3 (.727)|
|Claimed national titles||2 (NCAA Division I-AA/FCS)|
Kelly Green and White
|Fight song||Sons of Marshall|
|Mascot||Marco the Buffalo|
|Marching band||Marching Thunder|
|Rivals||East Carolina Pirates
West Virginia Mountaineers
The Marshall Thundering Herd football team is an intercollegiate varsity sports program of Marshall University. The team represents the university as a member of the Conference USA Eastern division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, playing at the Division I Bowl Subdivision level.
Marshall plays at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, which seats 38,227 and is expandable to 55,000. Marshall has an impressive 118-19 overall record at Joan C. Edwards stadium for a winning percentage of .866. The University of Alabama ranks second with an .825 winning percentage at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The stadium opened in 1991 as Marshall University Stadium with a crowd of 33,116 for a 24-23 win over New Hampshire. On September 10, 2010, the Thundering Herd played the in-state rival West Virginia Mountaineers in Huntington in front of a record crowd of 41,382. Edwards Stadium is one of two Division I stadium named solely for a woman, and Mrs. Edwards husband, James F. Edwards, has his name on the actual playing field. South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium is the other.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early History (1895-1934)
- 1.2 Cam Henderson era (1935-1942 and 1946-1949)
- 1.3 Pederson, Royer and Snyder (1950-1967)
- 1.4 Moss and Tolley (1968-1970)
- 1.5 Jack Lengyel era (1971-1974)
- 1.6 Frank Ellwood era (1975-1978)
- 1.7 Sonny Randle era (1979-1983)
- 1.8 Stan Parrish era (1984-1985)
- 1.9 George Chaump era (1986-1989)
- 1.10 Jim Donnan era (1990-1995)
- 1.11 Bob Pruett era (1996-2004)
- 1.12 Mark Snyder era (2005-2009)
- 1.13 Doc Holliday era (2010-present)
- 2 Championships
- 3 Home venues
- 4 Conference affiliations
- 5 Coaches
- 6 Herd football traditions
- 7 Important games
- 8 Top 25 Finishes
- 9 Individual award winners
- 10 All-Americans
- 11 Hall of Fame
- 12 Current NFL players
- 13 Future non-conference opponents
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Early History (1895-1934)
Marshall first fielded a football team in 1895. The team didn't have a coach that year or from 1897-1901. The first coach in Marshall football history was George Ford from 1902-1903.
Arch Reilly led the Herd to an undefeated 8-0 record in his only season as Marshall's head coach in 1919.
Charles Tallman would lead the Thundering Herd from 1925-1928, compiling a 22-9-7 record before moving on to coach rival West Virginia. Tallman's Thundering Herd won conference championships in 1925 and 1928.
Tallman was succeeded by John Maulbetsch, who posted an 8-8-2 record in his two years (1929-1930).
Tom Dandelet led the Thundering Herd from 1931-1934, compiling a record of 18-16-2. Dandelet's 1931 team won a conference championship.
Cam Henderson era (1935-1942 and 1946-1949)
Cam Henderson led the Marshall Thundering Herd for a total of twelve seasons (Marshall didn't field a football team from 1943-1945 due to World War II) and posted 69 wins. Henderson coached the likes of Jackie Hunt, Frank Gatski and Bill Smith during his time at Marshall. Henderson's teams were tough and physical and liked to run the football. After a 6-4 1949 season, Henderson resigned as head football coach but continued to lead Marshall's basketball program. Henderson's 1937 conference championship would be the Herd's last until 1988.
Pederson, Royer and Snyder (1950-1967)
The Thundering Herd were led by head coaches Pete Pederson, Herb Royer and Charlie Snyder from 1950-1967. The Herd were mostly mediocre during this time period, winning no conference championships and home attendance was up and down.
Moss and Tolley (1968-1970)
Perry Moss led the Thundering Herd for one season, posting an 0-9-1 record before being replaced.
Rick Tolley was Marshall's head football coach for two seasons, coming to Marshall from his post as defensive line coach for Wake Forest and posting records of 3-7 and 3-6 before being killed on November 14, 1970 in the infamous plane crash in which all 75 passengers, including 37 members of the Marshall football team were killed traveling home from a game against East Carolina. Marshall spent a full decade recovering from the crash, and was the nation's worst football program in the 1970s, and did not have another winning season until 1984.
The November 14, 1970, plane crash that killed all 75 passengers on board, including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team, is well documented. The event and its aftermath were dramatized in the 2006 Warner Brothers motion picture, We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox. It was also depicted in the 2000 documentary Ashes to Glory. There is a plaque at the College Football Hall of Fame in honor of those lost in the 1970 crash and on a facade on the stadium's west side is a bronze memorial dedicated to the plane-crash victims.
Jack Lengyel era (1971-1974)
In the wake of the crash, Marshall was given special permission by the NCAA to play incoming freshmen at the varsity level for the 1971 season. This team was dubbed the Young Thundering Herd and led by the few upperclassmen who didn't make the trip. Several players from other Marshall sports programs rounded out the team's roster. Wooster head coach Jack Lengyel was chosen to lead the crippled program. Lengyel, not surprisingly, struggled with a 9-33 record, but won the first home game played after the 1970 tragedy, a 15-13 victory over Xavier, winning on the last play of the game. Lengyel resigned after four seasons.
Frank Ellwood era (1975-1978)
Frank Ellwood took over as the Marshall head coach following Lengyel's resignation and also struggled. His teams failed to post a winning record, capping a decade in which the Thundering Herd posted a dismal 23-83 record.
Sonny Randle era (1979-1983)
Under the tutelage of head coach Sonny Randle, the Thundering Herd failed to post a record better than 4-7, but gained some momentum, getting better each year. 1-10, 2-8-1, 2-9, 3-8 and 4-7 were the year-by-year records of Randle's tenure in Huntington. Randle stepped down after five seasons.
Stan Parrish era (1984-1985)
Stan Parrish came to Marshall from his post as an assistant coach at Purdue. In 1984, Parrish's first year, the Thundering Herd posted their first winning record in two decades, a 6-5 record. The next year, Marshall posted a 7-3-1 record, which included a perfect record at home and at one point were ranked #3 in the country. Plans for a new on-campus stadium for Marshall were made after the 1985 season. Parrish left after two seasons to accept the head football coach position at Kansas State.
George Chaump era (1986-1989)
George Chaump left IUP to come to Marshall in late 1985. Under Chaump, the Thundering Herd posted yearly records of 6-4-1, 10-5, 11-2 and 6-5, which included two runs into the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs, losses in the championship game and quarterfinal, respectively. Chaump's final record at Marshall is 33-16-1. Chaump departed after four seasons to accept the head football coach position at Navy.
Jim Donnan era (1990-1995)
Led by head coach Jim Donnan, who came to Marshall from his post as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Marshall won the Division I-AA national championship in 1992 over Youngstown State (31-28) and was national runner-up in 1993 and 1995. Marshall set a I-AA record with four straight seasons making at least the semi-finals of the I-AA Playoffs from 1991-95. Donnan was named NCAA Division I-AA Coach of the Year twice during his tenure at Marshall and resigned after the 1995 season to accept the head football coach position at Georgia. Donnan was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2009, largely for his successes at Marshall.
Bob Pruett era (1996-2004)
Bob Pruett left his post as defensive coordinator at Florida under Steve Spurrier to become head football coach at Marshall, where he served for nine seasons from 1996 to 2004. During his tenure at Marshall, the Thundering Herd compiled a record of 94-23 (.803 winning percentage), featured two undefeated seasons, won six conference championships, won 5 of 7 bowl games, and captured the I-AA National Championship in 1996. Marshall moved to Division I-A and the Mid-American Conference in all sports in 1997. The 1996 team, with Chad Pennington, Randy Moss, Wade, Hanson, Eric Kresser, Doug Chapman and many other players who played professional football, was 15-0, had no game closer than a two touchdown win and was ranked No. 1 all-season. Marshall won the MAC title five of its eight seasons (1997-98-99-2000-2002) and were runners up in 2001 in the conference before moving to Conference USA in 2005. Since moving to Division I-A, Marshall has finished in the Top 25 three times: 1999 (10th AP/10th coaches' poll), 2001 (21st coaches poll), 2002 (24th AP/19th coaches poll). Marshall fell to Ole Miss in the 1997 Motor City Bowl, 34-31, but won the next three games in Michigan's Pontiac Silverdome, beating Louisville 48-29 in 1998, beating No. 25 BYU 21-3 in 1999 to finish 13-0 and beating Cincinnati in 2000, 25-14. Marshall and East Carolina matched-up in one of college football's greatest bowl games in 2001 at the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, a 64-61 double overtime win by the Herd over the Pirates of Conference USA. It is one of the highest scoring bowl games of all-time, and the Herd rallied from an 38-8 halftime hole behind Byron Leftwich's five touchdown passes. Marshall would fall to the Bearcats in the 2004 Plains Capital Fort Worth Bowl at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, 32-14, in Bob Pruett's final game as head coach before his retirement.
Mark Snyder era (2005-2009)
Mark Snyder came to his alma mater to become head football coach from his defensive coordinator position at Ohio State. Snyder coached the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw, Marcus Fitzgerald and Cody Slate during his time as head coach at Marshall. Snyder's best season was a 6-6 2009 season, which turned out to be his last. He resigned after five seasons, that included only one bowl berth, the 2009 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.
Doc Holliday era (2010-present)
On December 17, 2009, Marshall officially named Doc Holliday, an assistant coach at WVU under Bill Stewart, as the next head coach for the Thundering Herd football team. Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said Holliday had signed a five-year contract and would be paid $600,000 per season. Holliday, a WVU alum, led the Thundering Herd to a 7-6 record in 2011, capped with a victory in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. Holliday then led Marshall to a 10-4 season in 2013, capped with a victory in the Military Bowl.
Herd football traditions
Marshall football is rich in traditions. Some Marshall football traditions include:
Conference Championship games
MAC Championship games
Marshall has appeared in 6 MAC Championship Games, compiling a record of 5–1 in those games.
C-USA Championship games
Marshall has appeared in 1 Conference USA Championship Game, compiling a record of 0–1 in that game.
Marshall has been invited to play in 11 bowl games in its history, compiling a record of 8–3 in those games.
All-time record vs. CUSA teams
Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current CUSA opponents as of the start of the 2014 season:
Further information: Battle for the Bell
Marshall competes against Ohio in the Battle for the Bell, with a traveling bell trophy as the prize for the victor. With Marshall's move to Conference USA in 2005 this rivalry game has been on hiatus. The regularly scheduled series resumed between the two schools in 2010. The rivalry was renewed in 2009 when the Herd and Bobcats faced off in the 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which the Herd won 21-17. Ohio leads the all-time series over Marshall, however the Thundering Herd have dominated recent history winning 11 of the last 13 meetings.
Further information: Friends of Coal Bowl
Marshall plays West Virginia in the annual Friends of Coal Bowl . Marshall and WVU first played in 1911, but it wasn't until 2006 before the two schools from the "Mountain State" faced off annually for the Governor's Cup. Marshall has never won against the Mountaineers in 12 meetings all-time. The two last played in 2012, and there are no immediate plans to renew the rivalry. Some believe the rivalry began due to political pressure from the state government.
Further information: East Carolina–Marshall football rivalry
Marshall and East Carolina have a "friendly" rivalry with one another. They are emotionally bonded by the tragic plane crash on November 14, 1970. The Thundering Herd were coming back from Greenville, North Carolina after a 17–14 loss to the Pirates when their plane crashed near Ceredo, West Virginia. The teams have been bonded ever since.
One of Marshall and ECU's most memorable games was the 2001 GMAC Bowl as they combined for a bowl record, 125 points, as Marshall overcame a 30-point deficit to beat East Carolina 64–61 in double overtime. After Marshall defeated East Carolina in 2013, it marked ECU's last conference match-up as a member of Conference USA. It is undetermined when the two school will play again as East Carolina moves from Conference USA to American Athletic Conference in 2014.
East Carolina leads the all-time record over Marshall 10–5. ECU is 6–3 against the Herd from 2005 to 2013 when both schools were in Conference USA.
Top 25 Finishes
Individual award winners
Hall of Fame
Marshall University Hall of Fame
Established in 1984, members from the football team are listed below.
Current NFL players
Future non-conference opponents