Fountain ceremony marks the rebirth of Thundering Herd football

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Marshall University renewed its annual tradition of remembering the 75 lives lost in the football team’s plane crash by opening the tap on the memorial fountain Saturday afternoon.

Every year on November 14th, the memorial fountain outside Marshall University’s Student Center gets turned off, the same date as the plane crash that killed 75 football players, coaches, and community members from the Huntington area.

When spring returns, the water flows again as a sign of renewal. Marshall University’s president Dr. Jerome Gilbert the ceremony marks the “birth of the young Thundering Herd”, being the team that followed after the crash.

This year fans and alumni filled the area around the fountain and many were happy to be able to attend in person. Last year the pandemic forced the university to go with a virtual ceremony, only allowing a few people to attend.

This year, however, the ceremony continued with only a few restrictions.

Bob Coleman, a member of the “Young Thundering Herd” that brought the football program back after the tragedy, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He says the names of the lost lives and how the Marshall community rebounded will never be forgotten.

It’s a story that is unlike any other and my little part of it, I got to share some of that today.

Bob Coleman, Marshall Cornerback 1974-77

As the water in the memorial fountain flows again, so does the healing more than 50 years later.

The ceremony was followed by the Thundering Herd’s spring football game.

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