Marshall Thundering Herd football
|Marshall Thundering Herd football|
|Athletic director||Mike Hamrick|
|Head coach||Doc Holliday
6th year, 40–25 (.615)
|Home stadium||Joan C. Edwards Stadium|
|Field||James F. Edwards Field|
|Location||Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.|
|All-time record||564–529–48 (.515)|
|Postseason bowl record||9–3 (.750)|
|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. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
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. Joan C. Edwards Stadium is one of two Division I stadium named solely for a woman with South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium being the other. The playing field itself is named James F. Edwards Field after Mrs. Edwards husband, businessman and philanthropist James F. Edwards.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early history (1895–1934)
- 1.2 The 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.
Boyd Chambers was Marshall's head football coach from 1909-1916. He is most well known for calling the "Tower Play," where one receiver lifted another up on his shoulders to complete a pass, during the 1915 season, leading to a rule change in 1916.
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.
The 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. The one remaining game of the season, an away game at Ohio, was cancelled. 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 1991, 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, John Wade, Chris 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. In the 2014 season he led the team to a 13-1 season, winning the school's first C-USA Championship and the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl against Northern Illinois 52-23.
|1992||Jim Donnan||NCAA Division I-AA National Champions||12–3||Youngstown State||Marshall 31, Youngstown State 28|
|1996||Bob Pruett||NCAA Division I-AA National Champions||15–0||Montana||Marshall 49, Montana 29|
|Total national championships:||2|
|Year||Coach||Conference||Conference Record||Overall Record|
|1925||Charles Tallman||West Virginia||3–0–2||4–1–4|
|1928||Charles Tallman||West Virginia||5–0||8–1–1|
|1931||Tom Dandelet||West Virginia||4–1||6–3|
† Denotes co-champions
- 1895–1925: Independent
- 1925–33: West Virginia Athletic Conference
- 1933–39: Buckeye Conference
- 1939–48: WVIAC (non-competing member, membership in regards to school being accredited College)
- 1948–52: Ohio Valley Conference
- 1953–69: Mid-American Conference
- 1969–75: Independent
- 1977–97: Southern Conference
- 1997–05: Mid-American Conference
- 2005–present: Conference USA
Herd football traditions
Marshall football is rich in traditions. Some Marshall football traditions include:
- Marco the Buffalo - The school mascot, actually an American Bison, that always sports a Marshall jersey. He had a female companion in the 1970s, Marsha, and a green-furred "son" named Buffy, who appeared in 1979-80. MARshall COllege is where the name came from, kept when the College became a University in 1961.
- Marching Thunder - The Marshall University Marching Band known as the "Marching Thunder"
- "Sons of Marshall" - Marshall's fight song.
- "We Are…Marshall" Chant - Marshall's cheer, and title of movie in 2006 about plane crash and rebirth of program.
- Thunder Clap - Marshall fans clap their hands over their heads in unison following some Marshall scores. One clap per point scored in the game for the Herd.
- Marshall Cheerleaders - One cheerleading tradition occurs after every Marshall touchdown. A male cheerleader presses a female cheerleader over his head once for each point scored in the game by Marshall (as the fans do the Thunder Clap).
- Marshall Maniacs - The student cheering section at most Marshall football games.
- Thunder Walk - Marshall players and coaches make their way to the locker room through a small gathering of Thundering Herd fans prior to every home game.
Conference Championship games
MAC Championship games
Marshall has appeared in 6 MAC Championship Games, compiling a record of 5–1 in those games.
|December 5, 1997||Marshall University Stadium||W||Toledo||34||14|
|December 4, 1998||Marshall University Stadium||W||Toledo||23||17|
|December 3, 1999||Marshall University Stadium||W||Western Michigan||34||30|
|December 2, 2000||Marshall University Stadium||W||Western Michigan||19||14|
|November 30, 2001||Glass Bowl||L||Toledo||36||41|
|December 7, 2002||Marshall University Stadium||W||Toledo||49||45|
|Total||6 Championship games||5–1||195||161|
C-USA Championship games
Marshall has appeared in 2 Conference USA Championship Games, compiling a record of 1–1 in those games.
|December 7, 2013||Rice Stadium||L||Rice||24||41|
|December 6, 2014||Joan C. Edwards Stadium||W||LA Tech||26||23|
|Total||2 Championship games||1–1||50||64|
Division I-AA Playoffs results
Marhsall has appeared in the I-AA playoffs eight times, compiling a record 23–6 in those games. They are two time I-AA National Champions and four time national runners-up.
National Championship Game
National Championship Game
National Championship Game
Middle Tennessee State
National Championship Game
National Championship Game
National Championship Game
|Total||29 Playoff games||23–6||914||489|
Marshall has been invited to play in 12 bowl games in its history, compiling a record of 9–3 in those games.
|January 1, 1948||Tangerine Bowl||L||Catawba||0||7|
|December 26, 1997||Motor City Bowl||L||Ole Miss||31||34|
|December 23, 1998||Motor City Bowl||W||Louisville||48||29|
|December 27, 1999||Motor City Bowl||W||BYU||21||3|
|December 27, 2000||Motor City Bowl||W||Cincinnati||25||14|
|December 19, 2001||GMAC Bowl||W||East Carolina||64||61|
|December 18, 2002||GMAC Bowl||W||Louisville||38||15|
|December 23, 2004||Fort Worth Bowl||L||Cincinnati||14||32|
|December 26, 2009||Little Caesars Pizza Bowl||W||Ohio||21||17|
|December 20, 2011||Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl||W||Florida International||20||10|
|December 27, 2013||Military Bowl||W||Maryland||31||20|
|December 23, 2014||Boca Raton Bowl||W||Northern Illinois||52||23|
|Total||12 bowl games||9–3||365||265|
All-time record vs. C-USA teams
Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current C-USA opponents:
|Florida Atlantic||3||0||1.000||Won 3||2013||2015|
|Louisiana Tech||1||1||.500||Won 1||1942||2014|
|Middle Tennessee||3||2||.600||Lost 1||1992||2015|
|North Texas||2||0||1.000||Won 2||1988||2015|
|Old Dominion||2||0||1.000||Won 2||2014||2015|
|Southern Miss||6||5||.545||Won 5||2005||2015|
|Western Kentucky||4||3||.571||Lost 2||1941||2015|
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 won 10 of 15 meetings since rejoining the FBS in 1997.
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 schools 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
|Year||NCAA Rank||Sports Network Rank|
|Year||AP Rank||Coaches Rank|
Individual award winners
- Mike Barber (1987, 1988)
- Mike Bartrum (1992)
- Rogers Beckett (1999)
- Troy Brown (1991, 1992)
- B. J. Cohen (1995, 1996)
- Melvin Cunningham (1995, 1996)
- Josh Davis (2001)
- Sean Doctor (1987, 1988)
- Johnathan Goddard (2004)
- Chris Hanson (1996)
- Eric Kresser (1996)
- Byron Leftwich (2001, 2002)
- Billy Lyon (1994, 1995, 1996)
- Albert McClellan (2005, 2006)
- Randy Moss (1996, 1997)
- Michael Payton (1991, 1992)
- Chad Pennington (1998, 1999)
- Steve Sciullo (2002)
- Cody Slate (2006)
- Mark Snyder (1987)
- Darius Watts (2001, 2002)
Hall of Fame
- Marshall has four players and one coach in the College Football Hall of Fame, starting with Mike Barber (1985–88) who was a record-setting receiver for Marshall who helped lead the Herd to its first I-AA title game in 1987 and its first Southern Conference title in 1988. He still holds the receiving yardage record at MU with over 4,200 yards and was a two-time All-American before he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round in 1989. Barber also played for the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals.
- Harry "Cy" Young, who starred in football and baseball at Marshall College (University status in 1961) from 1910-1912. Young then left Marshall, and was a two-sport All-American at Washington & Lee. He is a member of the W&L HOF, MU HOF, WV Sportswriters HOF and Virginia Sports HOF besides the College FB HOF.
- Jackie Hunt (1939–41) set a national scoring record in 1940 with 27 touchdowns in a ten-game season. He rushed for nearly 4,000 yards for Thundering Herd, a hometown star for the Huntington High Pony Express before joining Marshall. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears and was a two-time All-American, playing in the Blue-Gray Game following his career.
- Troy Brown (1991–92) considered the single-most dangerous scoring threat in all of Division I-AA during his two seasons in Huntington, few can match the heralded career of Marshall's record-breaking wide receiver. A dual threat on the playing field, Brown's elusive nature as a receiver and kick returner led the Thundering Herd to back-to-back trips to the Division I- AA (now FCS) National Championship game, garnering the NCAA title in 1992. He caught 139 receptions for 2,746 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career en route to earning First Team All-America honors his senior year. Brown went on to play 14 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots, where he became the franchise's all-time leading receiver and won three Super Bowls with the team.
- Jim Donnan (1990–1995) the only coach representing Marshall in the College Football Hall of Fame. Donnan spent six seasons with Marshall and posted a 64-21 record. He led the Thundering Herd to four Division I-AA National Championship games, winning the 1992 national title. In 1994, the Thundering Herd won the Southern Conference Championship. His 15-4 playoff record ranks second best in NCAA FCS history. He was named Division I- AA Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1995.
- Frank Gatski, C, 1985. Gatski is the only Marshall player to have his jersey number retired and is Marshall's only player in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. The university retired Gatski's No. 72 during a halftime ceremony at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on October 15, 2005. Gatski died a month later, at age 86. During his career with the Cleveland Browns (1946–56) and the Detroit Lions (1957) he won eight championships in 11 title game appearances. Cleveland won the All-American Football Conference four straight years, going 14-0 in 1948, before joining the NFL. The Browns won NFL titles in 1950, 1954 and 1955 and were runners-up in 1951, 1952 and 1953. Gatski's Lions beat the Browns for his final title in 1957. The 31st Street Bridge, connecting Huntington to Proctorville, Ohio, is also named in Gatski's honor, joining U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (formerly the Sixth St. Bridge) and Congressman Nick Rahall (the former 17th St. Bridge) among three structures stretching across the Ohio River from West Virginia to Ohio.
Marshall University Hall of Fame
Established in 1984, members from the football team are listed below.
- 1970 Crash Victims 1990 Honored
- Bob Adkins, '39 1984
- Mike Barber, '88 1994
- Mike Bartrum, '92 2007
- Troy Brown, '92 2002
- B. J. Cohen, '97 2005
- Larry Coyer, '64 1987
- Sean Doctor, '88 2000
- Carl Fodor, '85 1991
- Frank Gatski, '42 1985
- Cam Henderson, '33-55 1984
- Carl Lee, '82 1995
- Byron Leftwich, '02 2007
- Billy Lyon, '96 2007
- Chris Parker '95 2000
- Chad Pennington, '99 1999
- Tony Petersen, '88 1994
- Bob Pruett, '65 1999
- Charlie Slack, '56 1985
- Ed Ulinski, '41 1986
- Norm Willey, '49 2003
- William "Bill" Richard Winter, '64 1990
Current NFL players
|NFL Draft selections|
|First picks in draft:||0|
- Ahmad Bradshaw - Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
- Vinny Curry - Defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles
- Aaron Dobson - Wide receiver, New England Patriots
- Neville Hewitt - Linebacker, Miami Dolphins
- Doug Legursky - Center, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Albert McClellan - Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens
- Darryl Roberts - Defensive back, New England Patriots
- Lee Smith - Tight end, Oakland Raiders
Future non-conference opponents
|vs Akron||vs Miami (OH)||at Miami (OH)||vs Ohio||at East Carolina||at Navy||vs Navy|
|vs Louisville||at NC State||vs NC State||at Boise State||at Ohio||vs East Carolina||vs Appalachian State|
|at Pittsburgh||vs Kent State||vs Cincinnati||vs Pittsburgh||at Appalachian State|
|at Cincinnati||vs Boise State|
- College Football Data Warehouse. "Marshall's National Championship". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2009-06-06. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
- "Herd Notebook: Upstairs, Jerseys, Turf". Herdzone. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Marshall In the Polls
- Marshall In the Polls
- Walter Payton Award
- http://herdzone.cstv.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/mars/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/08-fb-guide-6 2008 Marshall Football Media Guide
- "Marshall Players Drafted". Archived from the original on 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- ESPN - NFL Football Players By College - M - National Football League
- "Marshall Thundering Herd Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved 2014-09-07.