HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University had a very busy Wednesday, Nov. 14, as one of the largest crowds joined at the Memorial Fountain to remember the 75 lives lost on the Marshall football plane crash on this date in 1970.
A new song, "The Fountain," was performed and the younger brother of Marshall kicker Marcelo Lajterman, Mo, was the featured speaker, and the ceremony also included a gift from the city of Tuscaloosa, Ala., where four of the players who died played high school football together.
It was a photo taken of Freddie Wilson, Larry Sanders, Joe Hood and Robert VanHorn. It hangs in an exhibit in Tuscaloosa, and the mayor and city council decided it needed to hang in Huntington, too, said Tracy Croom, the city clerk in Tuscaloosa, and was given to Marshall.
Also on Wednesday, the men's basketball team signed junior college player Shawn Smith from City College of San Francisco while first-year Coach Matt Daniel of the women's team at Marshall dismissed two players from his team.
Junior college player signs with Marshall men
Shawn Smith, a 6-foot-6 forward at City College of San Francisco, was Marshall basketball's Tom Herrion's first signee of the National Letter of Intent period. (photo courtesy of CCSF)
HUNTINGTON -- Shawn Smith, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound sophomore at City College of San Francisco, signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to play men’s basketball at Marshall.
“Shawn is a great addition to our basketball program and our Herd family,” Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said.
“He is a very versatile player, who plays with a great motor and energy.”
Smith was a 2011 All-Metro Conference First Team selection at McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif.
He averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists as a senior.
He also played for the AAU program, Play Hard Play Smart. He is currently in his second season at City College of San Francisco.
Smith was a member of the All-Tournament team in a recent tourney at CCSF, with the Rams beating Fresno City College (83-65), Yuba College (72-71) and Santa Rosa J.C. (83-76).
"Smith is a big time athlete who had a big summer,The Marshall coaches first caught him playing in a tournament in Los Angeles and obviously liked what they saw” said CCSF coach Justin Labagh.
“Playing for one of the most successful junior college programs in the country and an outstanding coach like Justin Labagh at City College of San Francisco will allow him to be well prepared for college,” Herrion said. “We are really excited about Shawn’s future with the Herd.”
Smith will be a junior with the Herd and be eligible to play during the 2013-14 season.
He is Marshall’s first commitment during the early signing period which began on Wednesday.
He hopes to major in nursing at Marshall, according to his CCSF bio.
Women’s basketball dismiss two players from team
Jasmine Shaw (pictured) and Shynisha Johnson were dismissed by Coach Matt Daniel on Wednesday. (Herd Insider photo by Marcus Constantino)
HUNTINGTON — Marshall women’s basketball has dismissed two players, Jasmine Shaw and Shynisha Johnson, from the 2012-13 team.
Marshall released a statement from first year Marshall women’s basketball head coach Matt Daniel:
“Jasmine Shaw and Shynisha Johnson have been dismissed from the women’s basketball program due to a violation of team rules and policies. This will be our last comment on the subject.”
The dismissal leaves Daniel with 11 rostered players.
Shaw had scored 12 points in two games, a win at home over Radford and an away loss to Indiana State.
She was 5-of-13 from the field, and 2-of-5 from three.
Shaw had six rebounds, two assists and five steals in 51 minutes of action.
Johnson had played nine minutes in two games, scoring four points with two assists and one rebounds.
The women host Ball State on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5:30 p.m., then travel to Texas A&M Nov. 23-25 and to Eastern Kentucky Nov. 30-Dec. 1 for back-to-back tournaments before meeting the No. 14 WVU Mountaineers in Charleston in the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
Former Marshall player posts commentary on Nov. 14 anniversary
Craig Greenlee (in the Marshall uniform of 1969, with the 100th anniversary of college football logo on the helmet) remembered the players lost in the 1970 crash in his blog site, November Ever After. (photo courtesy of Craig T. Greenlee)
HUNTINGTON — Craig Greenlee was a Marshall player in 1969, leaving the team for personal reasons.
After the Marshall football plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970 killed 75 persons, including most of the players and coaches, Greenlee decided to return for the 1971 season with the “Young” Thundering Herd.
Moved to writing after the release of the Warner Bros. movie, “We Are … Marshall” Greenlee penned the book, “November Ever After.”
Here, from novembereverafter.com, the Craig Greenlee website, are his thoughts on the annual anniversary of the crash, remembered Wednesday at Marshall.
The 1970 Herd team, many of whom died in the Nov. 14, 1970, Southern Airways crash on the return from East Carolina University, killing 75 players, coaches, support staff, administrators, media, fans and family members. (HI file photo)
“(Wednesday) marks the 42nd anniversary of the worst aviation disaster in the history of American sports.
“The night of November 14, 1970 was filled with unspeakable horror.
“The Southern Airways DC-9 jet carrying Marshall University’s football team, coaches, administrators and supporters, crashed into the side of a mountain and exploded.
“There were no survivors.
“The calendar confirms that the plane crash is a historic event that happened a very long time ago. Yet, my senses and my memory scream to differ.
“My recollections remain vivid. It still seems as if the crash happened yesterday.
“I played ball with most of the players on were on that plane.
“Had it not been for a decision I made to quit the team a year earlier, it’s quite possible that my life would’ve ended over four decades ago.
“This time of year is always a mixed bag for me. “Memories of that night do not erase the enormous sense of loss that all of us felt.
“It forces me to wonder what might have been if there had never been a crash.
“Even though it was such a devastating time, there is a flip side to this.
“Eventually, there was cause for jubilation and celebration. In spite of near-decimation, Marshall did not kick its football program to the curb.
“The Thundering Herd endured some trying times, some frustrating times.
“But in the end, grit and perseverance fueled a comeback that is arguably the greatest in the history of college sports.
“After the crash, it took about a decade-and-a-half before the program would shed its losing image. Once that happened, the Herd was off and running.
“By the 1990s, Marshall had emerged a legitimate power. During that decade, no (Division I) college football team in America won more games than the Thundering Herd.
“The ‘90s serves as a fitting tribute to those who perished in 1970.
“It was only right that Marshall continued the job that they had started so many years before.
“The 1970 Thundering Herd will never be forgotten.”
Craig T. Greenlee today, with a copy of "November Ever After." (Courtesy of Craig T. Greenlee)
See more at http://novembereverafter.com/ and also hear an interview on Greenlee's book on the Black Authors Network. Click here to listen to the BAN Showcase interview in its entirety