LEXINGTON, Ky. - Marshall University played in front of the biggest crowd to see a Marshall game in the history of the basketball program this past Saturday at Rupp Arena against the No. 23-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
Interestingly, the 13 biggest crowds to ever see Marshall (all over 17,000) have yet to see the Thundering Herd pull out a victory against the home team, with losses to UK four times.
Marshall has also fallen to Memphis, Louisville and North Carolina, each on two occasions, and single losses to George Washington (at NABC Classic in Rupp Arena), at Syracuse last season and to Marquette (in the NIT).
The Herd did beat Clemson in front of 18,500 fans at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, in the consolation game of a packed house for UNLV versus Georgetown in the championship of the Rebel's holiday tourney in Dec. of 1983.
Marshall's biggest crowd at a win also came at Madison Square Garden in the NIT, beating Villanova in the first round of the 1967 tournament in New York City on the way to making the Final Four that season.
The biggest home crowd to see Marshall was 10,705 for a regular season Southern Conference contest on Feb. 18, 1984, Rick Huckabay's first year as coach as the Herd was marching to a Southern Conference championship and its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1972.
The best crowd at the recently demolished Veteran's Memorial Field House, home of the Herd from 1950-1981, was 7,000 to see the Herd top long-time rival Morehead State on Dec. 30, 1970, although the Louisville crowd on Feb. 1, 1978 was rumored to be over 7,100 standing room only at the facility with 6,532 seats.
Officially, the game was listed as a sellout, remembered best for the fight between the two teams during the game - Louisville never delivered on another scheduled home game due back to Marshall.
Here is the numbers, pulled together by Herd Insider Editor Jack Bogaczyk, and added to by HI Publisher Woody Woodrum:
Tom Herrion coached the Herd in front of the biggest crowd to ever see Marshall basketball last Saturday at Kentucky, as 24,271 saw the Wildcats top the Herd. (Herd Insider photo by Marcus Constantino)
Largest crowds to see Marshall men’s basketball (all crowds over 17,000 listed)
Coach Ellis Johnson (center, front) led the Herd to back-to-back NIT appearances in 1967 and 1968, including coaching Marshall to a first-round victory against Villanova as 15,357 packed into Madison Square Garden to see MU and the Wildcats. (Herd Insider file photo)
Largest crowds to see a Marshall victory
Attendance Opponent Site Date W-L
18,500 a-Clemson, Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev. Dec. 30, 1983 W, 63-61
15,357 b-Villanova, Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y. March 9, 1967 W, 70-68 OT
a-UNLV Holiday Tournament, consolation game (prior to UNLV-Georgetown championship)
b-NIT first round game
c-Conference USA Tournament semifinal game
d-Delta Airlines Classic championship game
Rodney Holden (#00), playing for Coach Rick Huckabay (black suit, background) was a member of a number of Huck's teams to play in front of 10,000+ Marshall fans in the 1980s in the Cam Henderson Center. (Herd Insider file photo)
Largest home crowds to see Marshall
Att. Opponent Site Date W-L
10,705 s-The Citadel, Cam Henderson Center Feb. 18, 1984 W 85-71 (+455 standing room only, original capacity 10,250)
10,576 West Virginia, Cam Henderson Center Dec. 12, 1987 W, 82-72 (+326 standing room only)
10,502 West Virginia, Cam Henderson Center, Dec. 7, 1985 W, 64-60 (+252 standing room only)
9,036 t-UCF, Cam Henderson Center, March 5, 2011 W, 83-69
9,016 v-Ohio, Cam Henderson Center, Feb. 17, 2001 L, 71-66
Mike D'Antoni (left) and Russell Lee helped the Herd to a win over long-time rival Morehead State and played in front of 7,000 Marshall fans in the Veteran's Memorial Field House in Dec. of 1970. (Herd Insider file photo)
7,000 Morehead State Veteran’s Memorial Field House, Dec. 30, 1970 W 96-86 (+468 standing room only, capacity 6,532)
s-Southern Conference game, 1977-97
t-Conference USA game, 2005-present
v-Mid-American Conference game, 1997-2005
Opening night at the Cam Henderson Center, as the Herd beat Army to christen the new building on Nov. 27, 1981. (Herd Insider file photo)
Largest Marshall men’s home crowd average
Att. Year Record Site (Total attendance)
8,916 1985-86 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (133,733 total)
8,799 1983-84 15-0 at Cam Henderson Center (131,992 total)
8,755 1986-87 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (131,328 total)
8,541 1984-85 10-6 at Cam Henderson Center (136,663 total)
8,493 1987-88 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (127,389 total)
7,845 1981-82 12-3 at Cam Henderson Center (117,680 total)
6,724 1990-91 7-6 at Cam Henderson Center (87,409 total)
6,623 1989-90 9-4 at Cam Henderson Center (86,105 total)
6,513 1994-95 9-3 at Cam Henderson Center (78,154 total)
6,501 1988-89 9-4 at Cam Henderson Center (84,509 total)
6,484 1972-73 11-1 at Veteran’s Memorial Field House (77,808 total)
Game night at the Veteran's Memorial Field House, the Home of the Herd from 1950-1981. (Herd Insider file photo)
Largest Marshall men’s home game total attendance
Attendance Year Record Site (Average attendance)
136,663 1984-85 10-6 at Cam Henderson Center (average 8,541)
133,733 1985-86 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (average 8,916)
131,992 1983-84 15-0 at Cam Henderson Center (average 8,799)
131,328 1986-87 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (average 8,755)
127,389 1987-88 14-1 at Cam Henderson Center (average 8,493)
117,680 1981-82 12-3 at Cam Henderson Center (average 7,845)
104,557 2011-12 13-4 at Cam Henderson Center (average 6,150)
104,143 2009-10 15-4 at Cam Henderson Center (average 5,481)
99,910 1982-83 14-2 at Cam Henderson Center (average 6,244)
99,430 2010-11 14-4 at Cam Henderson Center (average 5,524)
95,358 1971-72 14-1 at Veteran’s Memorial Field House (average 6,357)
All of these Herd basketball greats came together in Feb. of 2012 to bid goodbye to the Veteran's Memorial Field House, as a new Marshall University Veteran's Memorial Soccer complex will open for the 2013 season on the site of the former basketball building. (Herd Insider file photo)