Marshall Thundering Herd football

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Marshall Thundering Herd football
2013 Marshall Thundering Herd football team
First season1895
Athletic directorMike Hamrick
Head coachDoc Holliday
3rd year, 17–20–0  (.459)
Home stadiumJoan C. Edwards Stadium
FieldJames F. Edwards Field
Stadium surfaceField Turf
LocationHuntington, West Virginia, U.S.
All-time record542–520–47 (.510)
Postseason bowl record7–3
Claimed national titles2 (NCAA Division I-AA/FCS)[1]
Conference titles12
Division titles6
Consensus All-Americans44

Green and White

Fight songSons of Marshall
MascotMarco the Buffalo
Marching bandMarching Thunder
East Carolina Pirates
West Virginia Mountaineers
Ohio Bobcats
UCF Knights
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Marshall Thundering Herd football
2013 Marshall Thundering Herd football team
First season1895
Athletic directorMike Hamrick
Head coachDoc Holliday
3rd year, 17–20–0  (.459)
Home stadiumJoan C. Edwards Stadium
FieldJames F. Edwards Field
Stadium surfaceField Turf
LocationHuntington, West Virginia, U.S.
All-time record542–520–47 (.510)
Postseason bowl record7–3
Claimed national titles2 (NCAA Division I-AA/FCS)[1]
Conference titles12
Division titles6
Consensus All-Americans44

Green and White

Fight songSons of Marshall
MascotMarco the Buffalo
Marching bandMarching Thunder
East Carolina Pirates
West Virginia Mountaineers
Ohio Bobcats
UCF Knights

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 38,019 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.


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".

1990s Dynasty[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Marshall University vs. Cincinnati Bearcats 2008 (before game)

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[edit]

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.


National Championships[edit]

1992Jim DonnanNCAA Division I-AA National Champions12-3Youngstown StateMarshall 31, Youngstown State 28
1996Bob PruettNCAA Division I-AA National Champions15-0MontanaMarshall 49, Montana 29
Total national championships:2

Conference Championships[edit]

YearCoachConferenceConference RecordOverall Record
1925Charles TallmanWest Virginia3-0-24-1-4
1928Charles TallmanWest Virginia5-08-1-1
1931Tom DandeletWest Virginia4-16-3
1937Cam HendersonBuckeye4-0-19-0-1
1988†George ChaumpSouthern6-111-2
1994Jim DonnanSouthern7-112-2
1996Bob PruettSouthern7-015-0
1997Bob PruettMid-American8-110-3
1998Bob PruettMid-American8-112-1
1999Bob PruettMid-American9-013-0
2000Bob PruettMid-American6-38-5
2002Bob PruettMid-American8-111-2
Conference Championships12
† Denotes co-champions

Home venues[edit]

Conference affiliations[edit]


1903-1904George Ford444.500
1905Alfred McCray620.750
1906Pearl Rardin410.800
1908W.G. Vinal060.000
1909-1916Boyd Chambers32274.539
1917Carl Shipley171.167
1919Archer Reilly8001.000
1920Herbert Cramer080.000
1921-1922Kemper Shelton1161.639
1923Harrison Briggs170.125
1924Russell Meredith440.500
1925-1928Charles Tallman2297.671
1929-1930John Maulbetsch882.500
1931-1934Tom Dandelet18162.528
1935-1949Cam Henderson68465.592
1950-1952Pete Penderson9193.339
1953-1958Herb Royer21312.407
1959-1967Charlie Snyder28583.331
1968Perry Moss091.050
1969-1970Rick Tolley6130.316
1971-1974Jack Lengyel9330.272
1975-1978Frank Ellwood10340.227
1979-1983Sonny Randle12421.227
1984-1985Stan Parrish1381.614
1986-1989George Chaump33161.670
1990-1995Jim Donnan64210.753
1996-2004Bob Pruett94230.803
2005-2009Mark Snyder22370.379
2009Rick Minter1001.000
2010-presentDoc Holliday17200.459

Herd football traditions[edit]

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 1970s, Marsha, and a green-furred "son" named Buffy, who appeared in 1979-80. MARshall COllege is where name came from, kept when College became 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.

Important games[edit]

MAC Championship games[edit]

December 5, 1997Joan C. Edwards StadiumWToledo3414
December 4, 1998Joan C. Edwards StadiumWToledo2317
December 3, 1999Joan C. Edwards StadiumWWestern Michigan3430
December 2, 2000Joan C. Edwards StadiumWWestern Michigan1914
November 30, 2001Glass BowlLToledo3641
December 7, 2002Joan C. Edwards StadiumWToledo4945
Total6 Championship games5-1195161

Bowl games[edit]

Marshall has been invited to play in 10 bowl games in its history, compiling a record of 7-3 in those games.

January 1, 1948Tangerine BowlLCatawba07
December 26, 1997Motor City BowlLOle Miss3134
December 23, 1998Motor City BowlWLouisville4829
December 27, 1999Motor City BowlWBYU213
December 27, 2000Motor City BowlWCincinnati2514
December 19, 2001GMAC BowlWECU6461
December 18, 2002GMAC BowlWLouisville3815
December 23, 2004Fort Worth BowlLCincinnati1432
December 26, 2009Little Caesars Pizza BowlWOhio2117
December 20, 2011Beef 'O' Brady's BowlWFlorida International2010
Total10 bowl games7-3282222

Rivalry games[edit]


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.

West Virginia[edit]

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.

East Carolina[edit]

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. ECU leads the all-time record over Marshall 10-4. ECU is 6-2 against the Herd since Marshall joined Conference USA in 2005.

Series Results

YearWinning teamLosing teamLocation
1967East Carolina29Marshall13Huntington, WV
1968East Carolina49Marshall20Greenville, NC
1969Marshall38East Carolina7Huntington, WV
1970East Carolina17Marshall14Greenville, NC
1978East Carolina45Marshall0Greenville, NC
2001Marshall64East Carolina61Mobile, AL
2005East Carolina34Marshall29Huntington, WV
YearWinning teamLosing teamLocation
2006East Carolina33Marshall20Greenville, NC
2007Marshall26East Carolina7Huntington, WV
2008East Carolina19Marshall16Greenville, NC
2009East Carolina21Marshall17Huntington, WV
2010East Carolina37Marshall10Greenville, NC
2011Marshall34East Carolina27Huntington, WV
2012East Carolina65Marshall59Greenville, NC

Top 25 Finishes[edit]

1-AA Polls[edit]

YearNCAA RankSports Network Rank


1-A/FBS Polls[edit]

YearAP RankCoaches Rank


Individual award winners[edit]

Michael Payton - 1992[4]
Randy Moss-1997[5]
Chad Pennington - 1999[6]
Chad Pennington - 1999[7]


  • Mike Barber (1987, 1988)
  • Mike Bartrum (1992)
  • Rogers Beckett (1999)
  • Troy Brown (1991, 1992)
  • B.J. Cohen (1995, 1996)
  • Travis Colquitt (1994)
  • Melvin Cunningham (1995, 1996)
  • Josh Davis (2001)
  • Chris Deaton (1993)
  • Sean Doctor (1987, 1988)
  • John “Fuzzy” Filliez (1975)
  • Aaron Ferguson (1996)
  • Johnathan Goddard (2004)
  • Chris Hanson (1996)
  • Jackie Hunt (1940, 1941)
  • Eric Ihnat (1990)
  • Roger Johnson (1993, 1994)
  • William King (1993)
  • Eric Kresser (1996)
  • Byron Leftwich (2001, 2002)
  • Billy Lyon (1994, 1995, 1996)
  • Sam Manos (1987)
  • Albert McClellan (2005, 2006)
  • Larry McCloud (1996)
  • Nick McKnight (1988)
  • David Merrick (1993)
  • Shannon Morrison (1994)
  • Randy Moss (1996, 1997)
  • Tim Openlander (1994, 1996)
  • William Pannell (1994, 1995)
  • Chris Parker (1993, 1994, 1995)
  • Jimmy Parker (2000)
  • Michael Payton (1991, 1992)
  • Chad Pennington (1998, 1999)
  • Phil Ratliff (1991, 1992)
  • Jim Roberts (1940)
  • Herb Royer (1937)
  • Steve Sciullo (2002)
  • Cody Slate (2006)
  • Billy Smith (2002)
  • Mark Snyder (1987)
  • Jermaine Swaff ord (1997)
  • Wayne Underwood (1937)
  • Darius Watts (2001, 2002)
  • Marvin Wetzel (1947)
  • Jamie Wilson (1996)
  • Chris Martin (1993,1994,1995,1996)

Hall of Fame[edit]

College football[9][edit]

  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]

Pro football[12][edit]

  • 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, and 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[edit]

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
  • Boyd Chambers, '01 2003
  • Sam Clagg, '42 1985
  • Danny Clark, '49 1990
  • B.J. Cohen, '97 2005
  • Larry Coyer, '64 1987
  • Red Crist, '26 1985
  • Jim Cure, '64 1984
  • Andy D'Antoni, '41 1987
  • Sean Doctor, '88 2000
  • Everette Elkins, '39 1991
  • Aaron Ferguson, '96 2007
  • Chuck Fieldson, '49 1988
  • John "Fuzzy" Filliez, '76 1985
  • Millard Fleming, '61 1997
  • Carl Fodor, '85 1991
  • Frank Gatski, '42 1985
  • Don Gibson, '49 1985
  • Reggie Giles, '88 2002
  • Tommy Good, '65 1984
  • John Gregory, '90 1995
  • Bob Hartley, '49 1998
  • Len Hellyer, '56 1988
  • Cam Henderson, '33-55 1984
  • Chuck Henry, '74 2006
  • Frank Huffman, '38 2007
  • Jackie Hunt, '41 1984
  • Ramey Hunter, '32 1985
  • Mickey Jackson, '66 1985
  • Buck Jamison, '37 1985
  • Roger Jefferson, '63 2003
  • Roger Johnson, '94 2004
  • Mike Kaufman, '75 2007
  • Hunter Kincaid, '35 1988
  • Wilson Latham, '60 1990
  • Carl Lee, '82 1995
  • Byron Leftwich, '02 2007
  • Billy Lyon, '96 2007
  • Jack Mahone, '64 1994
  • Albie Maier, '54 1985
  • Ralph May, '62 1999
  • Ray McCoy, '32 1986
  • Claude Miller, '49 1997
  • Howie Miller, '65 1987
  • Jack Morlock, '39 1985
  • Reggie Oliver, '73 1984
  • Chris Parker, '95 2000
  • Michael Payton, '92 1999
  • Jim Pearcy, '41 1984
  • Chad Pennington, '99 1999
  • Tony Petersen, '88 1994
  • Bob Pruett, '65 1999
  • George Queen, '25 1990
  • Jim Roberts, '40 2002
  • Herb Royer, '37 1985
  • Ted Shoebridge, '70 1990
  • Charlie Slack, '56 1985
  • Bill Smith, '37 1985
  • Charlie Snyder, '47 1986
  • Tom Stark, '27 1984
  • John Stephens, '37 1989
  • Jim Swierezek, '54 1987
  • Ed Ulinski, '41 1986
  • Wayne Underwood, '37 1987
  • Earl Wellman, '35 1993
  • Marv Wetzel, '49 1986
  • Rucker Wickline, '61 1989
  • Norm Willey, '49 2003
  • William "Bill" Richard Winter, '64 1990
  • Brad Workman, '19 2004
  • Harry "Cy" Young, '12 2002
  • John Zontini, '33 1984

Current NFL players[edit]

Herd in the NFL
NFL Draft selections
Total selected:36[13]
First picks in draft:0
1st Round:3


We Are Marshall[edit]

The memorial at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia to the victims of the Southern Airways Flight 932 crash.

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.


External links[edit]