On November 14, 1970, a chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University football team clipped a stand of trees and crashed into a hillside just two miles from the Tri-State Airport in Kenova, West Virginia, near Huntington.
The team was returning from that day’s game, a 17-14 loss to East Carolina University. Thirty-seven Marshall football players were aboard the plane, along with the team’s coach, its doctors, the university athletic director and 25 team boosters — some of Huntington’s most prominent citizens — who had traveled to North Carolina to cheer on the Thundering Herd.
“The whole fabric,” a citizen of Huntington wrote later, “the whole heart of the town was aboard.”
For Huntington, the plane crash was “like the Kennedy assassination,” one citizen remembers. “Everybody knows where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.”
The town immediately went into mourning. Shops and government offices closed; businesses on the town’s main street draped their windows in black bunting. The university held a memorial service in the stadium the next day and cancelled Monday’s classes. There were so many funerals that they had to be spread out over several weeks.
In perhaps the saddest ceremony of all, six players whose remains couldn’t be identified were buried together in Spring Hill Cemetery, on a hill overlooking their university. — The History Channel