Monday, November 11, 2013

Marshall Football: Herd Should Continue to Honor “75” with Special Designation

Earlier this year the University of Michigan honored its first Heisman Trophy winner, Tom Harmon, with a special tribute. During a pregame ceremony the school unretired Harmon’s No. 98 jersey and bestowed it upon quarterback Devin Gardner. In addition to the number, Gardner and every Michigan football player to wear the legendary No. 98 going forward will have a special patch placed on their jersey, honoring the school’s first Heisman Trophy recipient.

Retiring numbers is a time honored way to commemorate special athletes but, the Wolverines unique twist brought added attention to the school and was well received.

In a column published on, columnist Jack Bogaczyk floated the idea of retiring No. 75 for all sports in which Thundering Herd student-athletes compete. For those who missed yesterday’s news, the football team will wear a green “75” helmet decal at Tulsa, honoring the 75 sons and daughters of Marshall that perished on November 14th, 1970 when Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed while attempting to land at Tri-State Airport.

I certainly respect Bogaczyk’s idea and any tribute to the lives lost on Southern Airways Flight 932 deserves consideration but, I would go in a different direction. Like Michigan, Marshall should honor those lost by selecting one football player to wear No. 75.

By purposely choosing a special student-athlete to wear No. 75, Marshall would ensure that the story of November 14th, 1970 continues to be told. Imagine a national television broadcast featuring the Thundering Herd, No. 75 makes a big play and the announcers have an opportunity to discuss the meaning of his jersey number. Marshall’s story is heard in millions of homes and the legacy of those lost grows.

The individual chosen to wear No. 75 would embody everything the Marshall and Huntington WV., community stands for, perseverance, pride, and hard work. Think about the emotion a former player like Chad Pennington would have felt putting on No. 75.

Like the movie “We Are…Marshall” and Thursday’s yearly tribute at the Memorial Fountain, let’s use the No.75 as a way to honor our past and make sure it is never forgotten. 

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