Marshall Thundering Herd football
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
|Marshall Thundering Herd football|
|Athletic director||Mike Hamrick|
|Head coach||Doc Holliday
3rd year, 17–20–0 (.459)
|Home stadium||Joan C. Edwards Stadium|
|Field||James F. Edwards Field|
|Stadium surface||Field Turf|
|Location||Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.|
|All-time record||542–520–47 (.510)|
|Postseason bowl record||7–3|
|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|
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
- 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 We Are Marshall
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Marshall is a football school with a rich tradition, winning conference titles in 1925, 1928, 1931, 1937, 1988, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002, as well as I-AA National Championships in 1992 and 1996 and I-AA finalists in 1987, 1991, 1993 and 1995.
Marshall is also known for being victims of a tragic plane crash on November 14, 1970, where all 75 passengers, including 37 members of the Marshall football team were killed. 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. 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. Including the year of the crash, Marshall was 23-83 from 1970–79, changing head coaches four times during that period.
Marshall had a winless streak of 0-26-1 from 1965–1969, and began Southern Conference play in 1977 with the exact record through 1981, 0-26-1. Marshall tied Western Carolina on a 59-yard field goal by freshman Barry Childers in 1980, still a NCAA freshman record, and finally broke through with a 17-10 win at Appalachian State in November 1981. Marshall's first winning season since 1964 came in 1984 under first-year head coach Stan Parrish, clinched with a 31-28 win over East Tennessee State in the Bucs' "Mini Dome".
The Thundering Herd began a resurgence in the late 1980s, winning its first conference title in 51 years in 1988. The Herd later went on to become the nation's winningest NCAA Division I program in the 1990s, winning 114 games against 25 losses. Marshall won Division I-AA national championships in 1992 over Youngstown State (31-28) and in 1996 over Montana (49-29), as well as being national runner-up in 1987, 1991, 1993 and 1995. Marshall had 6 regular season conference championships (3 MAC and 3 SOCON), 9 consecutive ten win season, 3 bowl appearances, and 1 top 10 finish all in the 1990s. Marshall set a I-AA record with five straight seasons making at least the semi-finals of the I-AA Playoffs from 1991-96. The 1996 team, with 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.
Bob Pruett Era
Bob Pruett is best known as the former head football coach of the Marshall University Thundering Herd 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. MU moved to Division I-A and the Mid-American Conference in 1997. 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 MU 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.
Mark Snyder Era
Former Thundering Herd defensive back and Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Snyder resigned as head coach at the end of the 2009 regular season. He was 22-37 through his five seasons, failing to rebuild the program after NCAA sanctions limited scholarships. Marshall has been at the full 85 scholarships since 2008 for the first time in five seasons. In Snyder's final season, he led the Thundering Herd to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Assistant coach Rick Minter was named interim coach for the bowl game in which they defeated the Ohio Bobcats 21-17.
On Saturday November 28, 2009 the Herd suffered an embarrassing 52-21 loss to UTEP at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas, thus finishing the season 6-6. On Sunday November 29, 2009 it was announced that Snyder had resigned as head football coach.
Doc Holliday Era
On December 17, 2009, Marshall officially named Holliday 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.
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 10 bowl games in its history, compiling a record of 7–3 in those games.
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.
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.
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 where 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
We Are Marshall
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. Marshall University 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. 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.