On November 14, 1970, the airplane transporting the football team of Marshall University back to Huntington, WV following a game at East Carolina crashed, killing all 75 people aboard. The Marshall players and coaches, the flight crew, and many prominent members of the Huntington community all perished.
The following year, Marshall fielded another football team, primarily made up of freshmen and the previous season's freshman squad. In their first home game of the season, Marshall scored a touchdown on the final play of the game to defeat Xavier, 15-13.
Filming is presently ongoing in Huntington upon the film "We Are Marshall," telling the story of the crash and its aftermath, climaxing in the dramatic victory over Xavier. Matthew McConaughey will portray Jack Lengyel, who coached The Young Thundering Herd in that first season following the crash. Matthew Fox will play Red Dawson, an assistant coach on both the 1970 and 1971 teams (he missed the flight on 11/14/70). David Strathairn will play the MU president.
The filming of this movie has been quite the event here. 8 days ago I was in a meeting with my partners when one of their wives phoned to excitedly tell him that she had commented to another patron of "Starbucks" that he had a nice dog, as he was leaving the coffee shop. Only after the patron had left did she realize she had been talking to McConaughey.
One of our legal assistants has vowed that she is skipping work this Tuesday so that she can be in a crowd scene filmed in Huntington for the film. She's crazy about McConaughey. When told that McConaughey reportedly has a relationship with Penelope Cruz, she dismissed Cruz as the "flavor of the month," causing someone else to note that while that might be true, our legal assistant would gladly be "chocolate" for McConaughey.
Jack Lengyel himself had a good line. He noted that McConaughey had been voted the "sexiest man alive" and said that the makeup crew would therefore really have its work cut out for itself making McConaughey look like Lengyel.
Filming has been taking place for the last ten days or so around Marshall and Huntington. The film is scheduled for release later this year.